The universe is big and vast with innumerable stars and planets some of which are often bizarre due to their features.
One of such is an exoplanet called GJ 367b whose complete year only takes about 8 hours of earth’s time.
The planet orbits its star so fast that an entire year would’ve passed while you’re napping.
Despite its speed, one would think the planet is a gas planet without a surface like Jupiter or Saturn, but scientists think the planet is a rocky worked similar to Mercury.
“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 Kristine Lam in a German Aerospace Center (DLR) statement on Thursday.
Lam is also the lead author of a paper on extrasolar planets published in the Science journal on Thursday.
The study also featured 78 other authors all highlighting just how much of a collaboration the research was.
The planet has been described as being “featherweight” with half the mass of Earth making it the lightest known exoplanets among over 5,000 planets on record so far with billions out in the vastness of space yet to be discovered due to their distance.
It’s a little bigger than Mars by diameter and can be found just 31 light-years from Earth.
The planet was discovered in data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS via the transit method – where scientists look for a telltale dimming of a star when a planet passes in front of it.
GJ 367b orbits a red dwarf star which is typically smaller and cooler than the Sun. (The sun is also a star).
The closeness to its home star as well as the speed are parts of what makes GH 367b inhabitable for humans as it gets a huge amount of radiation with a surface temperature that could melt rock and metal.
The planet represents a step forward in scientists’ understanding of these distant worlds. “The discovery demonstrates that it is possible to precisely determine the properties of even the smallest, least massive exoplanets,” said DLR. “Such studies provide a key to understanding how terrestrial planets form and evolve.”