Angry Planet Eight Hours a Year

Angry Planet Eight Hours a Year

Ultra-short-period planets, dense worlds that orbit their stars at close range and complete one orbit (and a single, scorching year) in less than 24 hours. How these planets acquired such extraordinary properties is one of the mysteries of exoplanet science. Now astronomers have discovered a super-light ultra-short-period (USP) planet.

Named GJ 367 b, this planet orbits its star in just eight hours. Almost the size of Mars and half the weight of Earth, the planet is one of the lightest planets ever discovered. Orbiting a star 31 light-years from our Sun, GJ 367 b stands close enough for researchers to identify its features. It was not possible to do this in the USPs detected before.

For example, the research team determined that GJ 376 b is a rocky planet and likely contains a solid core of iron and nickel, similar to Mercury’s interior. Because of its extraordinary proximity to its star, astronomers estimate that GJ 376 b is scorched with 500 times the radiation the Earth receives from the Sun. As a result, the daytime part of the planet is boiling with temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. The planet’s atmosphere must have evaporated long ago under such extraordinary temperatures; So does any sign of life as far as we know…



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