Hubble Spotted An Exoplanet That Is Evaporating Really Fast
According to the latest simulations and models, exoplanet sizes should be spread out evenly. But New Atlas announces that with the exoplanet tally approaching 4,000 this is not the case.
There’s a type of world that has been dubbed as Hot Neptune, and it is vanishing at a record rate. It’s named GJ 3470b.
The really hot exoplanets that have been discovered so far seem to fall into the opposite groups. There is the so-called hot Super-Earths group which includes exoplanets that are bigger than Earth, and there are also Hot Jupiters.
There should also be plenty of medium-sized Hot Neptunes that are about the size of our local giant Neptune.
GJ 3470b is the second planet of this type discovered
There are extremely hot because there are really close to their parent star.
GJ 3470b is only the second planet like this that has ever been discovered; it may also hold the key to why they are so rare.
“This hot Neptune orbits the star Gliese 3470, about 96 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cancer. Being so close to its parent star means GJ 3470b is broiling away as the gas in its atmosphere heats up to the point where it escapes into space, forming a giant cloud around the planet,” New Atlas notes.
The continue and explain “And since that thick atmosphere constitutes up to 20 percent of the planet’s mass, GJ 3470b is shrinking at an unprecedented rate.”
This interesting discovery has been made using Hubble Imaging Spectrograph. Experts have been able to find the ultraviolet signature of hydrogen in the cloud around the planet as it was passing in front of its hot star.
This is not the only time when a planet has been known to leak its atmosphere into space. According to simulations, Proxima b which is a nearby Earth-like planet that may have even been habitable once has also been stripped of most of its atmosphere.
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