Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet of an extremely rare type called hot Neptune. Hot Neptunes are so rare that astronomers call the area near a star a Neptune desert.
WHAT ARE HOT NEPTUNES?
Hot Neptune are Neptune-sized planets that are close to their stars.
Astronomers think the reason they are so rare may be because planets of this size rapidly lose their atmosphere when close to their stars and are rapidly eroded to Earth’s size.
PHASE CURVE ANALYSIS
A team from the University of Kansas has identified one of these Neptune exoplanets in data from NASA’s TESS and Spitzer missions.
Planet LTT 9779b was studied using a technique called phase curve analysis where the infrared light emitted by the planet is measured to see which parts of the planet are warmer.
Ian Crossfield, lead author of the article, said: “For the first time, we have measured the light coming from this planet that shouldn’t exist. This planet is so intensely radiated by its star that its temperature exceeds 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and its atmosphere may have evaporated entirely. Yet our observations of Spitzer show us his atmosphere through the infrared light emitted by the planet. “
THE HOT PLANET OF NEPTUNE HAS WEIRD CHARACTERISTICS
“In addition to being an unusual discovery, the position of the planet also leads to some bizarre characteristics. This planet has no solid surface and is much hotter than even Mercury in our solar system.
“Not only would lead dissolve in the atmosphere of this planet, but also platinum, chromium and stainless steel. A year on this planet is less than 24 hours: it is the speed with which it revolves around its star. It’s a pretty extreme system, “Crossfield said.
THE PLANET IS A FIRST OBJECTIVE FOR THE FOLLOWING STUDY
The planet, an unusual object, is a prime target for a follow-up study using the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Astronomers can develop more accurate tools for searching for habitable planets in the future by using new techniques to examine the planet’s atmosphere.
Crossfield said, “As someone who studies these, there is just a lot of interesting planetary science we can do to measure the properties of these planets, just like people study the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus even if we don’t think that. those will house life.
“They are still interesting and we can learn how these planets formed and the larger context of planetary systems.”
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