In a delightful alignment of astronomy and mathematics, scientists at MIT and elsewhere have discovered a “by-earth” – an Earth-sized planet that zips around its star in orbit once every 3.14 days, reminiscent of a global mathematical constant.
The researchers discovered the planet’s signals in 2017 data taken by NASA’s Kepler space telescope’s K2 mission. By zeroing in on the system earlier this year with SPECULOOS, a network of ground-based telescopes, the team confirmed that the signals belonged to a planet orbiting its star. In fact, the planet still orbits its star every 3.14 days with a pi-like period.
“The planet moves like clockwork,” says Brajwal Nirula, a graduate student at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), who is the primary author of a study published today. Astronomy Magazine, Title: “: Earth: K14’s Kitchen 3.14 Day Earth-wide planet served hot by the Speculus team.”
“Everyone needs a little fun these days,” says co-author Julian de Witt, the paper’s title and the invention of the pie planet.
The new planet is named K2-315b; This is a system that is ashamed of being the more coincidental place on the 315th planetary system-list found within K2 data.
Researchers estimate that K2-315b has a radius of 0.95 of the Earth, which represents the size of the Earth. It orbits one-fifth of the Sun’s cold, low-mass star. The planet orbits a blister every 3.14 days, at 81 kilometers per second or 181,000 miles per hour.
Although its mass has not yet been determined, scientists suspect that K2-315b is as terrestrial as Earth. But the pie planet will not be viable because its tight orbit brings the planet closer to its star to heat its surface to 450 kelvins or 350 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for firing real pies.
“It would be very hot in the general understanding of this phrase,” says Nirala, who explores the properties of its atmosphere to see if the excitement around this particular planet can prove to be a promising candidate, except for the interactions with the mathematically stable pie.
“We now know that the planets are mine and can be extracted from archive data, and there will be no planets left, especially these important ones that have the most impact,” says De Witt, who is an assistant professor at EAPS. Fellow of the Cowley Institute for Astronomy and Space Research at MIT.
The team of international collaborators includes Benjamin Rockham and Artem Bartanov, co-editors of Nirala and DeWitt’s MIT.
Decreases in data
The researchers are members of SPECULOOS, the abbreviated ultra-cool stars of the habitable planets in search, and named for a network of four 1-meter telescopes in the Atacama Desert of Chile that scans the sky across the sky. Southern Hemisphere. Most recently, the network added a fifth telescope, the first project in the Northern Hemisphere to be named Artemis, which was launched by MIT researchers.
SPECULOOS telescopes are designed to search for nearby Earth-like planets, ultracool dwarfs-small, dim Stars Since these stars do not catch the eye of very large, bright stars, it offers astronomers the best opportunity to find an orbiting planet and classify its atmosphere.
“These ultracool dwarfs are scattered across the sky,” says Bartanov. “Targeted surveys like SPECULOOS can be helpful because these ultracol dwarfs can be viewed one by one.”
In particular, astronomers see individual stars swimming from time to time for signs of transition or in the light of a star, indicating that they can cross the planet in front of the star and briefly block its light.
Earlier this year, data collected by the K2 campaign showed Nirala landing on a cold dwarf slightly warmer than the generally accepted threshold for the ultracool dwarf — the Kepler space telescope’s second observation mission, which tracked the sun’s sand as it orbited the spacecraft.
For several months in 2017, the Kepler telescope observed a portion of the sky, which is named EPIC 249631677 in the K2 data. Nirala came together during this period and found about 20 tips in the light of this star. Repeat every 3.14 days.
The team analyzed the signals and tested different possible astronomical scenarios for their origin, and confirmed that the signals may be a crossing planet and not the product of some other event, such as the binary structure of two spiral stars.
The researchers then planned to see the star and its orbiting planet up close with SPECULOOS. But first, they had to identify a window of time when they were determined to catch a traffic.
“The best night wash to follow from the ground is a little tricky,” says Rockham, who developed a forecast algorithm to predict when a traffic might occur next. “Even when you see this 3.14 day signal in the K2 data, there is an uncertainty in it, which adds to every orbit.”
With Rockham’s forecasting mechanism, the group narrowed down to several nights in February 2020, during which time they could be seen crossing the planet in front of its star. They then pointed Speclus’ telescopes in the direction of the star and were able to see three clear transmissions: two from the network’s southern hemisphere telescopes, and a third from the northern hemisphere Artemis.
The new Pi planet could be a promising candidate to follow the James Webb Space Telescope (JWSD) and find out details about the planet’s atmosphere. For now, the team is looking at other datasets such as NASA’s Des Mission, and is directly observing the skies with Artemis and the rest of the Speculus network for signs of Earth-like planets.
“There will be more interesting planets in the future, for the telescope JWST designed to explore the atmosphere of these alien worlds,” says Nirala. “With better means, one day, we may find the smaller Planets, As small as Mars. ”
Brajwal Nirula et al., Π Earth: K14’s Kitchen 3.14 Day Earth-wide planet served hot by the Speculus team, Astronomy Magazine (2020). DOI: 10.3847 / 1538-3881 / aba95f
Quote: Astronomers discover Earth-sized ‘pie planet’ with 3.14 day orbit (2020, September 21), September 21, 2020 at https://phys.org/news/2020-09-astronomers-earth-sized-pi-planet-day . html
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