Neptune-sized oddball baffles astroboffins: It has a good atmosphere despite star-lashing

www.theregister.co.uk | 5/30/2019 | Staff
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Click For Photo: https://regmedia.co.uk/2019/05/29/the_forbidden_planet.jpg

Astrophysicists have discovered a rogue exoplanet that has managed to cling onto its atmosphere despite lying fatally close to its parent star, defying all expectations.

NGTS-4b, nicknamed The Forbidden Planet, is a little smaller than Neptune, has twenty times the mass as Earth, and is located about 922 light years away. It’s locked tightly around a K-type main sequence star, and zips around it in just 1.34 days.

Proximity - Exoplanet - UV - Radiation - Surface

The close proximity means that the exoplanet is blasted with strong UV and x-ray radiation, bringing its surface temperature to a toasty 1,000 degrees Celsius – hotter than our system's Mercury. Under these harsh conditions, it’s unlikely to find any exoplanets of this size that can withstand a star’s constant lashing.

Scientists call this region close to the surface of a sun the Neptunian Desert. Here, most bodies disintegrate and lose their atmospheres, but not NGTS-4b. It’s the first of its kind to have ever been observed in this area.

Planet - Zone - Planets - Richard - West

“This planet must be tough - it is right in the zone where we expected Neptune-sized planets could not survive,” Richard West, first author of the research, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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