Questions for “Meet ‘Pi’ — a new Earth-sized planet”

an illustration of the "Pi" planet

Scientists discovered a planet called K2-315b. They nicknamed it “Pi Earth” because it orbits its star every 3.14 days.

NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, Christine Daniloff, MIT

To accompany “Meet ‘Pi’—a new Earth-sized planet


Before Reading:

1. What is a solar system? What are planets?

2. How do exoplanets differ from planets? How do astronomers know when they discover an exoplanet?

During Reading:

1.  What is the official name of then recently discovered Earth-sized planet that researchers describe in this story? What is its nickname?

2.  How often does the new planet orbit its star?

3.  What two measurements do you need to calculate the mathematical concept of pi?

4.  According to scientists, what is the temperature of the new planet’s surface?

5.  How did researchers discover the new planet?    

6.  What is the temperature of Earth’s sun? 

7.  What do scientists mean when they talk about the so-called “Goldilocks Zone?”

After Reading:

1.  In your opinion, is it important for astronomers to hunt for exoplanets? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

2.  Is life more likely to be found on rocky planets or gaseous planets?  Explain your reasoning.

3.  Explain how being in the Goldilocks Zone helped life on Earth to evolve.