This outer planet “cotton candy” challenges astronomers’ perceptions

By observing our solar system, astronomers have gained an idea of ​​how planets formed. So they believed that the giant planets should rest on a relatively massive solid core. Did they think … because observations made on an exoplanet called Wasp-107b now raise this conclusion into question.

In 2019, researchers announced that they had discovered Water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. Today, one of those researchers, Caroline Biaulit, Astronomer at the University of Montreal (Canada), reveals amazing works related to another Exoplanet : Wasp-107b. La Mass From his heart he would be much weaker than society thinks.

Remember that Wasp-107b is an atypical planet. It was discovered in 2017, about 212 Light years From our land, in Constellation Virgo. She is almost the same length Jupiter, But its mass is much less. Wasp-107b is what Astronomy scientists call up planet “Dad’s beard”. And for him Orbit He is also close to it starSixteen times more than ours Solly. It is touring at 5.7 at present only. So much so that she finds it difficult to hold it Atmosphere.

Thanks to the data obtained inKeck Observatory (Hawaii), researchers at the University of Montreal were able to measure accuracy movement Its host star wobbled due to the gravitational force of Wasp-107b. Thus, they established its mass at about one-tenth of the mass of Jupiter.

An incredibly bulky core

Then astronomers conducted an analysis to determine the planet’s internal structure. Their conclusion: Mass Hard core Wasp-107b should not exceed four times the Earth. Thus, more than 85% of the planet’s mass lies in the thick layer of Gas Around this kernel. Amazing thing. Because you must know that NeptuneFor example – whose mass is close to Wasp-107b’s mass – it accounts for no more than 15% of its mass in this gas layer.

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Until now, researchers believed that a relatively massive nucleus was necessary for formation Gas giants. A condition without which the planet cannot hold a large number of gas layers. But this discovery related to Wasp-107b indicates that Giant planets They form much more easily than astronomers thought. This in particular could have formed some distance from its star – where the gas is cool enough to smooth outAccumulation – Before moving to its current position.

Other questions still unanswered about the Wasp-107b. The atmosphere for this type of planet, for example, must be rich in methane. However, the reviews Hubble, Which was implemented in 2018, appears to show the opposite. The researchers now plan to re-analyze these findings in light of their new findings regarding the overall distribution of exoplanets. And maybe know the mechanism that could explain such destruction of methane.

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Stan Shaw

<p class="sign">"Professional food nerd. Internet scholar. Typical bacon buff. Passionate creator."</p>

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