A team of researchers has discovered a solar system that includes three super-Earths and a hot Neptune. While they orbit around a star that is similar to our sun, the system is impressive due to a specific trait present across at least one of the planets. Initial data infer that one of the planets is so warm that a part of the atmosphere has started to leak into space. The discovery was made with the help of an experimental detection method pioneered by the team of astronomers.
By using a powerful telescope and an advanced spectrograph, the astronomers managed to discover a solar system located at a distance of 200 light-years away. The use of a spectrograph allows researchers to determine the presence of specific gases on a planet. In this case, the researchers observed a phenomenon that has been described as a circumstellar gas shroud.
These planets bleed gas
The strange cloud of gas is leaking into space, and it is thought that it comes from one of the super-Earth planets. A new method that involved the use of radial velocity measurements was used to track the way in which the gravity exerted by orbiting planets can influence the movements of a star. This data offered the ability to calculate the approximate number of the planets present within the solar system and their size.
It is theorized that the planet which leaks the gas (or planets, if there is more than one) could offer valuable insight related to a fascinating region, which is known as a Neptune desert. Such a region is observed in the case of Neptune-like planets that are so close to a star that the atmosphere is completely stripped, and only a barren rocky core can be found. Some researchers argue that planets who lose gas could be in the late stages of this manifestation. The team published a paper on the topic in an astronomy journal.
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