‘Super Puff’ planets, unlike any other planet found in deep space, can change the way we explore the universe


Scientists have confirmed the existence of a giant “super-puff” exoplanet, one that is as big as Jupiter but 10 times lighter and could change how humanity discovers the universe.

The planet, known as WASP-107b, was first found in 2017, but it was not until recently that astronomers were able to confirm its low density, calling it “cotton candy” or “super Puff “category.

“For WASP-107b, the most plausible scenario is that the planet is formed far away from the star, where the gas in the disk is cold enough to cause gas emissions too quickly,” said Carolyn Parulet, the study’s lead author. Statement. “The planet was later able to move to its current position, either through interactions with the disk or with other planets in the system.”

Artistic presentation of the exoplanet WASP-107b and its star, WASP-107. Some light currents of the star through the extended gas layer of the exoplanet. (Sincerely: ESA / Hubley, NASA, M. Cornesar)

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The study is published in The Astronomical Journal.

WASP-107b orbits the WASP-107 star system, which is 211 light years from Earth. A light year, which measures distance in space, is about 6 trillion miles.

WASP-107b is exceptionally close to its star, it takes just 5.7 days to orbit its star, 16 times closer to the Sun than Earth. Its density is also low, as it is believed that 85% of its mass is in the gas layer around it. When combined, these facts left astronomers with a lot of unanswered questions.

“We had a lot of questions about WASP-107b,” added Piaulet. “How could a planet with such low density be there? And how did it keep its huge layer of gas from escaping, especially giving the planet its proximity to its star? It allowed us to determine the history of its formation Inspired to do a deeper analysis. “

In contrast, Jupiter is considerably more massive, believed to comprise 5% to 15% of the total mass in a core and is farther from the Sun than the WASP-107b and its star.

It is possible that WASP-107b was once in a very different location in its star system, given that it is evaporating.

“For WASP-107b, the most admirable scenario is that the planet is far from the star, where the gas in the disk is quite cold, which can cause gas emission very quickly,” said co-author and astronomer Eve Lee. “” The planet was later able to move to its current position, either through interactions with the disk or with other planets in the system. “

During their observation of WASP-107b, the researchers discovered another planet in the WASP-107c system. The planet is very different from WASP-107b, with an elliptical orbit and it takes 1,088 days to move around the host star.

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WASP-107b will provide new information on how gas giants prepare and provide new clues that Jupiter and Saturn are not capable of.

“Exoplanets such as WASP-107b that are no analogs in our solar system allow us to understand the mechanisms of planet formation in general and the resulting diversity of exoplanets,” Piaulet explained. “It inspires us to study them in great detail.”

A total of more than 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered by NASA, of which around 50 were considered potentially habitable until September 2018. They have the right size and the correct orbit of their star to support surface water, and at the very least, support life naturally.

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