Scientists discover Mercury-like exoplanet where a year is only eight hours long

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Scientists discover Mercury-like exoplanet where a year is only eight hours long
An artist im­pres­sion of Plan­et GJ 367.DLR Institute of Planetary Research.
  • A new exoplanet ‘GJ 367 b’ has been discovered where a year amounts to only eight years.
  • It’s believed to be a rocky planet like Mercury and has just half the mass of Earth.
  • GJ 367 b also belongs to the ‘ultra-short period’ (USP) group of exoplanets that orbit their star in less than 24 hours.
Scientists have discovered a new exoplanet where time flies super quick. On Planet GJ 367 b, a year equals to only eight hours as compared to 365 days on Earth. The newly discovered planet is also believed to have a rocky surface like Mercury.

Planet GJ 367b was discovered by scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research. This planet is said to be featherweight as it has just half the mass of Earth. It’s also expected to be one of the lightest among the almost 5,000 exoplanets discovered so far. It has a diameter of just over 9,000 kilometers making it slightly larger than Mars.

Since it takes the exoplanet around eight hours to orbit its parent star, that’s how much a year would amount to on this planet. GJ 367 b also belongs to the ‘ultra-short period’ (USP) group of exoplanets that orbit their star in less than 24 hours. Scientists have discovered similar exoplanets as GJ 367 b but their origins are still unknown.

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"It seems to have similarities to Mercury. This places it among the sub-Earth sized terrestrial planets and brings research one step forward in the search for a 'second Earth'," said astronomer Kristin Lam in a statement.

Upon researching the planet, GJ 367b was found to be a low-mass rocky planet which is more dense than earth and with properties similar to those of Mercury. The planet’s proximity also reveals that it’s exposed to high levels of radiation, 500 times more than what the Earth experiences. This also means that the surface temperature on GJ 367b could reach up to 1500 degrees Celsius which not only makes living here impossible for humans but rocks and metals would also easily be melted.

In terms of the distance from Earth, planet GJ 367b is 31 light years which according to the scientists makes it ideal for further investigation. This discovery also expands the capabilities of finding out more about exoplanets, even those that could be the smallest and the least massive exoplanets.

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