Astronomers Discover Hot and Dense Planet with Eight-Hour Year

Jay Kakade
GJ 367b orbiting a red dwarf star

An illustration of orbiting of GJ 367b around a red dwarf star Credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

While searching for second earth, The International Team of Astronomers have discovered a planet whose surface temperature exceeds 1,500 degrees. Temperature is more than enough to melt rock and metals. Planet named GJ 367b, is too close to a star and makes one revolution in eight hours.

According to a study published in Science Journal, Planet GJ 367b is 31 light years away from us - Brightest star among 5,000 Exoplanets known till now. It has diameter of just 9,000 kilometers which is as same as of Mars.

Though this study was initially for second Earth, But it shows astronomers can determine properties small planets too. Study was initiated by 78 astronomers at the Institute of Planetary Research at the German Aerospace Center.

According to researchers, After detailed observation of GJ 367b, It is classified as a Rocky Planet. This planet has bought us a step forward towards finding Earth Twin. Planet GJ 367b belongs to group of Ultra-Short Period (USP)- a Group of planets which orbit a star in less than 24 hours. Properties of such planets are known but still unknown of their origin. With observation of USPs astronomers can get a glance at formation and evolution.

Planet GJ 367b
Planet GJ 367b. Credit: SPP 1992

Scientists found this planet using TESS - Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - and its spectrum was studied by HARPS instrument - An 3.6 meter Telescope. Along with many other combinations of different methods, Its radius was calculated. Radius is 72% of Earth's radius and Mass is 55% of Earth's Mars.

After the determination of radius and mass, Astronomers were able to conclude its inner structure. GJ 367b is a low mass rocky planet with higher density than Earth. High density denotes Core must be made up of Iron. This properties are very much similar with mercury with difference of density and iron core.

Due to the proximity of planet GJ 367b to its star, Planet receives 500 times high insolation than Earth. This causes the temperature to exceed 1,500 degree centigrade. GJ 367b orbits along a red dwarf star GJ 367. Star GJ 367 is half the mass of our Sun. As Dwarf stars are smaller and cooler than normal stars, It makes astronomers easy to characterize star and planets.

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