Astronomers at the German Aerospace Center Institute of Planetary Research have discovered a terrifying planet: smaller than Earth and so close to its star that it completes one orbit in just eight hours. Its host star, located relatively close at a distance of 31 light-years, is a red dwarf that is smaller and cooler than our Sun, but still, the planet is so close that its surface temperature can reach 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. And the planet has been bombarded with radiation that is 500 times stronger than the radiation on Earth.
The planet, named GJ 367 b, is smaller than most exoplanets ever discovered, which is comparable in size to Jupiter. Its mass is only half that of Earth, but it is slightly larger than Mars, with a diameter of 5,500 miles. It was discovered using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a space-based planet-hunter that detects planets using the transit method, in which it looks at light from distant stars to determine the distance between them. A drop in brightness can be seen due to the planet rotating in it. Star and Earth.
Following its discovery using TESS, GJ 367 b was further investigated using the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6m telescope, a ground-based telescope used to more accurately determine its radius and mass. Uses a different method.
“By accurate determination of its radius and mass, GJ 367 b has been classified as a rocky planet,” Explained Lead researcher Christine Lamm. “It seems to have similarities with Mercury. This places it among the sub-Earth-sized terrestrial planets and brings research a step further in the search for a ‘second Earth’.”
However, despite its resemblance to Earth, you might not want to visit GJ 367 b. Its surface temperature is so hot that it can almost vaporize iron, and researchers think the planet may have lost its entire outer layer, called the outer mantle.
But studying the planet can help astronomers learn more about how planets and planetary systems form, which could help us understand more about the evolution of our planet and solar system.
When it comes to planets orbiting close to their stars, called ultra-short period (USP) planets, “we already know some of these, but their origins are currently unknown, Lam said. “By measuring the precise fundamental properties of the USP planet, we can get a glimpse into the history of the system’s formation and evolution.”
The research is published in the journal Science,