Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked with scientists from other institutions to discover a new planet the size of Earth orbiting its parent star in just 3.14 days. The so-called “Planet Bay” was first discovered in 2017 when the Kepler K2 mission detected signs of the planet. This year, researchers focused on the system using SPECULOOS, a network of ground-based telescopes.
Using this system, the team was able to confirm that the signals captured by Kepler were, in fact, a planet orbiting a star. The researchers say that the planet moves like a clock with “Bay Earth”, making it complete orbit around its star in 3.14 days. The official name of the planet is K2-315b, it is the 315th planetary system that was discovered using K2 data.
Researchers estimate that the radius of the planet is 0.95 Earth’s radius, making it the size of the Earth. It orbits a cold, low-mass star about one-fifth the size of the Sun. To make its orbit so fast, the planet orbits its star at 81 kilometers per second, or about 181,000 miles per hour. Scientists have not yet determined the mass of the planet, but it is suspected that the planet is as terrestrial as Earth.
Researchers do not believe the planet is habitable because its orbit brings the planet close enough to the star to warm the surface to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The researchers say the temperature would be so hot that it would be uninhabitable in the common understanding of this phrase.
The planet is a promising candidate to follow up with the James Webb Space Telescope to try to figure out the details of its atmosphere, according to the scientists. Currently, scientists are using other data sets to find out more about the planet, including data from the TESS mission.