Summary: A team of astronomers from the University of Kansas (KU) have discovered evidence for an atmosphere around an extremely hot exoplanet — and it shouldn’t exist, they say.
Original author and publication date: Victor Tangermann – October 23, 2020
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: A planet that should not exist, yet it is there. It shows how little we know and understand about reality
From the article:
The exoplanet is a “hot Neptune,” a giant planet with a mass similar to Uranus or Neptune that orbits so close to its star that its surface is exposed to massive amounts of radiation. Generally speaking, these types of planets end up being much hotter than Neptune.
But there’s something unusual about this particular one, dubbed LTT 9779b and located some 260 light years away. By analyzing data from NASA’s TESS and Spitzer space telescope, they found it had an atmosphere — despite its scorching temperature.
“For the first time, we measured the light coming from this planet that shouldn’t exist,” Ian Crossfield, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at KU and lead author of the paper published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, said in a statement.
“This planet is so intensely irradiated by its star that its temperature is over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and its atmosphere could have evaporated entirely,” he added. “Yet, our Spitzer observations show us its atmosphere via the infrared light the planet emits.”
Despite the existence of an atmosphere, LTT 9779b would be a horrible place to live.
“This planet doesn’t have a solid surface, and it’s much hotter even than Mercury in our solar system — not only would lead melt in the atmosphere of this planet, but so would platinum, chromium and stainless steel,” Crossfield said.
“A year on this planet is less than 24 hours — that’s how quickly it’s whipping around its star. It’s a pretty extreme system,” he added.