A new planet has been discovered recently by researchers at the University of Central Florida.

The planet, named UCF-1.01, is 33 light-years away in the constellation Leo the Lion. While scientists have been able to confirm that more than 700 exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) have been found since 1995, many of them have been much larger than Jupiter. This new planet, however, may only be 5,200 miles across – about two thirds the size of Earth.

The planet currently orbits a star called GJ 436, and researchers at UCF have spent the last year watching it to confirm that it was indeed a distant planet. UCF-1.01 is not quite a hospitable planet for humans, as researchers calculate that it whisks around its host star in 1.4 Earth days and at a distance of about 1.6 million miles; Earth is about 93 million miles from our sun. Temperatures more than likely exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit which raises the probability that the surface of UCF-1.01 is molten (covered in lava) and any atmosphere would have been boiled away long ago.

Still, there are many things scientists don’t know about UCF-1.01 such as its mass and physical appearance, which are difficult to calculate due to its distance. As it stands, technology is a long ways away from determining the answers to these questions, so it may be "light-years" before we know more about this astonishing discovery.


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