An anonymous reader shares a report: Everyone’s favorite mathematical constant has received an inadvertent tribute from the universe. A team led by MIT researchers discovered a distant planet that orbits its star every 3.14 days, mirroring the famous first three digits of pi. MIT described the rocky Earth-sized planet K2-315b as “baking hot” and “likely not habitable” in a statement on Monday. “The planet moves like clockwork,” said MIT graduate student Prajwal Niraula, lead author of a paper on the planet published in the Astronomical Journal this week. The team found the exoplanet (a planet located outside our solar system) in data gathered in 2017 by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope K2 mission. The planet-finding telescope was put into a permanent sleep mode in 2018. The researchers confirmed the planet’s existence by taking another look with the ground-based Speculoos telescope network. “Speculoos” stands for “Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars.” It’s also a fun reference to a type of spiced cookie.
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