An international team of astronomers has discovered, just 31 light-years away, a rocky exoplanet smaller than Earth (about three-quarters of its size or slightly larger than Mars), which is about half the mass of our planet, is dense like an iron, while in addition it is very fast and year of Lasts just eight hours.
Specifically, it is estimated to have 72% of the Earth’s radius and 55% of its mass. Of the approximately 5,000 exoplanets that have been discovered to date, this one is the one with the smallest mass. Also because it is relatively close to Earth, it is an ideal target for further study.
The 78 researchers, led by Christine Lahm and Sillard Tsizmandia of the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR), published their findings in the US-based television and space European Southern Observatory (ESO).
Exoplanet GJ 367b orbits its star – a relatively cold red dwarf (a class M star) that is half the size of the Sun – in a very short time, traversing a complete orbit in just eight hours, which is the length of the year. of. By comparison, the fastest planet in our solar system, Mercury, has a year of 88 days.
The new exoplanet is rocky and much denser than Earth, possibly having a very large iron core (occupying up to 86% of its interior), bearing similarities to Mercury, which also has a disproportionately large iron and nickel core. Due to its proximity to the star, the surface temperature of planet GJ 367b is estimated at 1,300 to 1,500 degrees Celsius, enough to melt iron and rocks.
The radiation that the exoplanet receives from its parent star is estimated to be at least 500 times stronger than that received by the Earth from the Sun, so – in combination with its hot surface – it is not expected to be hospitable to life and therefore not can be considered a “second Earth”. Probably in the same stellar system, however, there are other exoplanets.