To date, the planet is now boiling away and where it is slowly forming a tail of gas similar to a comet’s which is growing huge, 50 times larger than the star.
Located 33 light years from Earth in the Leo constellation, GJ 436b was classified a “warm Neptune,” meaning it resembles the planet Neptune in size, but orbits its star at a short distance.
The team’s results are presented in the journal Nature.
David Ehrenreich, an astronomer at the University of Geneva stated, “
I was astonished by the mere size of the cloud of gas escaping from the planet”.
The detection of the hydrogen cloud – dubbed “the Behemoth” – is the first of its kind and could help scientists understand how planets with hydrogen-enveloped atmospheres, that are now small, hot, and rocky, might have evolved over billions of years.
The planet, named Gliese 436b, is in a very close orbit around the small red dwarf star Gliese 436, which is less than half the size of the Sunday.
Ehrenreich further explains that the red star would have been more active in the past leading to a faster evaporation of the planet during its first billion years of existence because of the strong radiation from the young star. 1 percent of the total mass every billion years.
A weird alien planet orbiting a star 33 light-years from Earth has a tail.
The astronomers believe that such evaporation may also play a part in the history of our solar system since it is known that early Earth had an atmosphere rich in hydrogen, which later escaped. It’s also possible it could happen to Earth’s atmosphere at the end of our planet’s life, researchers said.
An artist’s concept of a warm Neptune.
The planet is a long way from losing its atmosphere completely, but scientists are wondering if they’ve caught sight of a so-called “Hot Super-Earth” in the making. All observations for these discoveries were performed in the ultraviolet. Astronomers have obtained this data using observations from the NASA and ESA Hubble Space Telescope in order to monitor this cosmic event. Earth, by comparison, is about 93 million miles from the Sunday. The study showed that although the rapid evaporation of hydrogen is not a threat, as of the moment, to the planet’s existence. The cloud is created as of result of x-rays emitted from the red dwarf burning off GJ 436b’s upper atmosphere. It will be extremely challenging for astronomers to directly see water vapor on those worlds, because it’s too low in the atmosphere and shielded from telescopes. This assumption is not consistent with the rate of depletion that Ehrenreich’s team calculated. Wheatley (University of Warwick, United Kingdom), A. Lecavelier des Etangs (Institut d’astrophysique de Paris, CNRS; UPMC Univ. Paris 6, France), G.
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