Artist’s concept of K2-315b, which has on orbital period of 3.14 Earth-days, the same value as the mathematical constant pi. Image via NASA Ames/ JPL-Caltech/ T. Pyle/ Christine Daniloff/ MIT.
If you love both exoplanets and math, you’ll love this. In recent years, scientists have discovered a growing number of Earth-sized worlds orbiting distant stars. Now scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced one whose orbital period matches the value of pi: that is, this planet orbits its star every 3.14 Earth-days. For those not mathematically inclined … pi is the numerical sequence that describes the ratio of the circumference of any circle to the diameter of that circle. No matter how big or little the circle may be, this ratio will always equal pi. And that makes pi one of the most important mathematical constants. The exoplanet is labeled K2-315b, but scientists are calling it the pi planet.
The pi planet was discussed in a new peer-reviewed paper published in The Astronomical Journal on September 21, 2020.
As Prajwal Niraula, lead author at MIT, noted in a statement:
The planet moves like clockwork.
Co-author Julien de Wit said:
Everyone needs a bit of fun these ...