The Discovery of a Rapidly Shrinking Planet
- After going through several stages of the screening process, we are finally able to enhance the article we have collected with data from reliable sources on the discovery of a rapidly shrinking alien planet.
In this universe, there are several planets outside the solar system of the Milky Way that are unique and rare. Astronomers call these planets hot-Neptune or Hot Neptune. Of all the 3,869 exoplanets that have been discovered, only a few are hot-Neptune.
Now, recently, astronomers discovered that there is a planet that is shrinking by itself! Is the exoplanet Gliese 3470 b (GJ 3470 b). The planet is losing its atmosphere at an extreme rate, faster than any other exoplanet has observed.
1. The puzzle of why a planet can shrink
Space science media Hubblesite (13/12) reports that looking at how fast the planet GJ 3470 b is shrinking due to evaporation, it gives astronomers a hypothesis about why the number of planets that are considered hot-Neptune is so few. You see, the planets shrink into mini-Neptune, one of the most common types of exoplanets found.
"The question then becomes, where did the hot Neptune go?" said astronomer Vincent Bourrier of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, as quoted by Hubblesite. "If we examine the size of the planet and its distance from the star, there must be desert and holes in the process. That's the puzzle."
2. Comparison with previous findings
A hot-Neptune planet is indeed in the form of a hot giant planet with a large mass like Neptune or Uranus. However, these hot-Neptune planets are closer to their host star than Earth and the sun. Given its proximity, astronomers recorded the atmospheric temperature as high as 927 degrees Celsius (1,700 Fahrenheit).
Previously, astronomers discovered the exoplanet Gliese 436 b which experienced the same symptoms of evaporation. However, the rate of evaporation is not as fast as the exoplanet GJ 3470 b that was recently discovered.
Astronomers have found that the distance between GJ 3470 b and its parent star is the same as GJ 436 b. However, GJ 3470 b is losing its atmosphere 100 times faster than GJ 436 b. This happens because the planet GJ 3470 b orbits a star that is much younger than the star GJ 436 b. The star GJ 3470 b is clearly still emitting much hotter radiation.
Also Read: The Formation of the Solar System from Galactic Collisions
3. Can shrink to the size of the planet Earth
Through the Hubble telescope, astronomers have found that there are hydrogen clouds entering the planet GJ3470 b. If that continues, planet GJ 3470 b could end up as a mini-Neptune, or even the size of Earth.
"It's like smoke from a firearm. Hot-Neptune planets could lose most of their total mass," said physicist and planetary scientist David Sing of Johns Hopkins University.
"GJ 3470b is losing more mass than any other planet we've seen so far. In just a few billion years from now, half of this planet may be lost."
4. Understand the behavior of the planet and its environment
As quoted by the media Phys, David Sing estimates that GJ 3470 b may have lost up to 35 percent of its total mass and, within a few billion years, all the surrounding gas will be lost and will eventually leave only a rocky core.
"We're starting to better understand how planets form and what properties affect their overall makeup," said Sing.
"Our goal with this study and the overall PanCET program is to take a broad look at the atmospheres of these planets to determine how each planet is affected by its own environment. By comparing different planets, we can begin to collect a bigger picture of the way they develop. "