New Exoplanet Thrice Earth's Mass Discovered In Neptunian Desert


Astronomers claim to have found a new exoplanet with its own atmosphere in the Neptunian Desert. Dubbed NGTS-4b, the exoplanet is also known as 'The Forbidden Planet' and is smaller in size compared to Neptune but thrice the size of the Earth, said researchers led by the University of Warnick in the UK.

New Exoplanet Thrice Earth's Mass Discovered In Neptunian Desert


First Of Its Kind

The exoplanet is said to have a mass 20 times the mass of the Earth, a radius 20 percent smaller than Neptune, and temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. It orbit time around its host star is only 1.3 days. The Earth's takes one year to orbit around the Sun.

Researchers also said that this is the first of its kind exoplanet to have been discovered in the Neptunian Desert - the region close to the star where no planets this big are found. The area is also bombarded with strong irradiation from the star, which means the planets' atmosphere evaporate leaving just a rocky core. The newly found exoplanet, however, is able to retain its gaseous atmosphere.

How Are These Planets Located

While searching for new planets, the scientists look for a drop in the light of a star - with orbiting planets. Usually dips of one percent or more are only picked up, however, the NGTS telescope is capable of picking up a dip of as low as 0.2 percent.

"It is truly remarkable that we found a transiting planet via a star dimming by less than 0.2% - this has never been done before by telescopes on the ground, and it was great to find after working on this project for a year," said Richard West, from the University of Warwick.

18 New Earth-Like Exoplanets

Besides, astronomers also recently discovered 18 new planets outside our solar system. These planets are similar to our planet in size and conditions. One of these planets is also said to be the smallest exoplanet known and is said to be habitable.


How Is This A Breakthrough Discovery

Astronomers across the globe have been committed to finding new planets and other heavenly bodies in the universe. Discovering a new exoplanet which is unique for other objects in the region is a big achievement as it helps the scientists understand the space better and learn more about the origin of the world.

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