The researchers at University of Warwick in UK discover a rogue exoplanet

Published: June 3, 2019

The researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have discovered a rogue exoplanet – NGTS-4b – with its own atmosphere in the Neptunian Desert. The Neptunian Desert is the region close to stars where no Neptune-sized planets are found. This area receives strong irradiation from the star, meaning the planets do not retain their gaseous atmosphere as they evaporate leaving just a rocky core. However, NGTS-4b still has its atmosphere of gas. NGTS-4b, nick-named ‘The Forbidden Planet’ is smaller than Neptune but three times the size of Earth. The exoplanet has a mass of 20 Earth masses, a radius 20% smaller than Neptune, and temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. It orbits around the star in only 1.3 days — the equivalent of Earth’s orbit around the Sun of one year. It is the first exoplanet of its kind to have been found in the Neptunian Desert. The NGTS telescopes are situated at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in the heart of the Atacama Desert, Chile.

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