Unique Unique super-puff ‘planet is as big as Jupiter but 10 times lighter


Astronomers have discovered a unique ‘super-puff’ planet that is as large as Jupiter, but 10 times lighter.

The planet called WASP-107b is believed to be one of the least dense exoplanets ever discovered, giving it the nickname of the planet ‘super-puff’ or ‘cotton-candy’.

Researchers say the findings have big implications for how we understand how giant planets form and grow.

WASP-107b is very close to its star WASP-107, estimated to be 16 times more of its star than the Sun from planet Earth.

What is WASP-107B?

WASP-107b is considered one of the least dense exoplanets, making the nicknames ‘super-puff’ and ‘cotton-candy’ planets.

It is located in Virgo constellation, about 212 light years away from Earth, and is very close to its star WASP-107, estimated by the planet to be 16 times that of its star than the Earth by the Sun.

Estimates suggest that the planet is around the same size as Jupiter, but is about 10 times lighter.

This extremely low density suggests that the planet must have a solid core of more than four times the mass of the Earth according to researchers.

This suggests that more than 85 percent of the mass is contained in a thick layer of gas that surrounds its core.

WASP-107b is in Virgo constellation, about 212 light years away from Earth.

It is estimated that Earth is about 16 times more than its star WASP-107 than the Sun.

Using observations obtained by the KK Observatory in Hawaii, researchers at the University of Montreal have been able to determine the size and density of the planet.

Their results suggest that WASP-107b is around the same size as Jupiter, but about 10 times lighter.

This extremely low density suggests that the planet must have a solid core of more than four times the mass of the Earth according to researchers.

This suggests that more than 85 percent of the mass is contained in a thick layer of gas that surrounds its core.

Caroline Piulet, a PhD student at the University of Montreal and lead author of the study, said: ‘We had a lot of questions about WASP-107b. How can a planet of such low density be?

‘And how did it keep its huge layer of gas from escaping, especially given the proximity of its star planet?

‘This prompted us to conduct a deeper analysis to determine the history of its formation.’

Most gas giant planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, are at least 10 times more solid than Earth.

Estimates suggest that the planet is around the same size as Jupiter, but is about 10 times lighter.

Estimates suggest that the planet is around the same size as Jupiter, but is about 10 times lighter.

However, WASP-107b has a much less massive core, leading researchers to question how the planet was able to cross the critical threshold needed to create and maintain its gas envelope.

Professor Eve Lee, a world-renowned expert on super-puff planets, has several theories.

‘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, which can cause gas emission very quickly,’ he said.

‘The planet was later able to move to its current position, either through interaction with the disk or with other planets in the system.’

Surprisingly, previous data from NASA’s Hubble spacecraft show that WASP-107b contains very little methane.

Ms Piulet said: ‘This is strange, because for this type of planet, methane must be abundant. We are now looking at Hubble’s observations with the new mass of the planet to see how this would affect the results, and to test whether the mechanism could explain the destruction of methane. ‘

WASP-107b is around the same size as Jupiter (picture), but 10 times lighter than gas

WASP-107b is around the same size as Jupiter (picture), but 10 times lighter than gas

The observations also revealed that the WASP-107b star is not alone in orbiting WASP-107 – it is connected to another planet called WASP-107c.

WASP-107c has a mass of about one-third of Jupiter, and is much farther than WASP-107b from its central star, an orbit that takes three years to complete, as opposed to just 5.7 days.

Interestingly, the craze of this second planet is high, meaning that its trajectory is more oval than circular.

Ms Piulet explained: ‘WASP-107c has in some cases retained the memory of what happened in its system.

‘Its large eccentricity hints at a chaotic past, with interactions between planets that can cause significant displacement, such as those suspected for WASP-107b.’

The team hopes the findings will shed light on various mechanisms of planet formation throughout the universe.

Ms Piulet said: ‘Exoplanets like WASP-107b, which have no analog in our solar system, allow us to understand the mechanisms of planet formation in general and the resulting diversity of exoplanets. This inspires us to study them in great detail. ‘

Scientists study distant exoplanet’s atmosphere using giant space satellites like Hubble

Distant stars and their orbiting planets often have opposite conditions to what we see in our atmosphere.

To understand these new worlds, and what they are made of, scientists need to be able to find out what is in their atmosphere.

They often do this using telescopes similar to NASA’s Hubble telescope.

These massive satellites scan the sky and lock onto the exoplanet, which NASA thinks may be of interest.

Here, sensors on board perform various forms of analysis.

One of the most important and useful is called absorption spectroscopy.

This form of analysis measures the light emanating from a planet’s atmosphere.

Each gas absorbs a slightly different wavelength of light, and when this happens a black line appears over a full spectrum.

These lines correspond to a very specific molecule, indicating that it exists on the planet.

They are often called Frenhofer lines, after the German astronomer and physicist who first discovered them in 1814.

By connecting all the different wavelengths to light, scientists can determine all the chemicals that make up a planet’s atmosphere.

The key is that what is missing provides clues to find out what is present.

It is really important that this is done by space telescopes, because the Earth’s atmosphere will then interfere.

Absorption from chemicals in our atmosphere will skew the sample, which is why it is important to study light before it has a chance to reach Earth.

It is often used to search for helium, sodium, and even oxygen in foreign atmospheres.

This diagram shows how light passes through a star and forms Fraunhofer lines through the atmosphere of an exoplanet indicating the presence of major compounds such as sodium or helium.

This diagram shows that light from a star and an exoplanet pass through the atmosphere to form franhoffer lines that indicate the presence of major compounds such as sodium or helium.

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