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Only 8 hours? These are the Planets with the Shortest Years

The universe is full of singularities and each celestial body has different speed. The planets with the shortest years are fast, hot and inhospitable.

Planet with the moon

On our planet, a year lasts approximately 365 days. However, around the universe there are different planets that have very different years from ours. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: ¿Solo 8 horas? Estos son los planetas con los años más cortos

A year, scientifically speaking, is the period of time that it takes the earth to go around the Sun. On our planet, it lasts approximately 365 days. However, around the universe there are different planets that have very different years from ours. Here we want to talk to you about some of the most curious cases that we could find.

The giant with the short day

One of the strangest curiosities in the universe are the "hot Jupiters". These are giant balls of gas that are the size of Jupiter, but that move both in orbit and around its axis in an extraordinarily fast way.

To give you an idea, the Jupiter we know takes about 10 years to go around the sun, while an average hot Jupiter can make a trip around its star in less than ten days.

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However, recently, scientists discovered a much more impressive case. It is an ultra-hot Jupiter, known as TOI-2109b.

TOI-2109b, according to MIT researchers, is 35 percent larger than Jupiter and orbits extremely close to its star, at a distance of about 1.5 million miles. Mercury, by comparison, is about 36 million miles from the Sun.

But what most caught the scientists' attention is the speed with which TOI-2109b completes its orbit. It turns its star around in just 16 hours.

With a temperature of 6000 degrees Fahrenheit on its sunny side, TOI-2109b is the second hottest planet we have ever seen. Scientists estimate that this is because it is in a process of orbital deterioration, that is, it is approaching its star little by little, "like water approaches a drain."

And our solar system?

In our solar system, the shortest year belongs to the planet that is closest to the Sun, that is, Mercury.

Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system, being only slightly larger than our moon. Also, like its Greek namesake, it soars through the skies at extreme speed. Mercury is estimated to travel through space at a speed of 47 kilometers per second. Because of its proximity to the sun, a year on Mercury is barely 88 days on Earth.

Can you imagine an 8 hour year?

Lastly, we wanted to end with another anomaly. This is a planet the size of the earth in which a year lasts approximately 8.5 hours. Its name is Kepler-78b.

Kepler-78b orbits the star Kepler-78 and when it was discovered in 2013 it was the planet most similar to Earth in terms of radius, mass and density. However, Kepler-78b is about 100 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, resulting in its short orbit.

Would you like to go? Well, it's worth thinking about, as the surface of Kepler-78b has a temperature of 3,680 degrees Fahrenheit. It is so hot that the astronomer Francesco Pepe described it as "a planet of lava."