Astronomers have found an exoplanet so rarely that they called it "Forbidden Planet", according to a new study.
Technically known as NGTS-4b, the planet is three times larger than the Earth and 20% less than Neptune. It is also warmer than Mercury with a temperature of 1.444.4 degrees Celsius. And she also has her own atmosphere.
The international team of astronomers used observation facilities Transit Study Next Generation to discover a small rebel planet.
Its mass is 20 masses of earth and turns around its star in complete orbit every 1.3 days. A study detailing the planet was published on Monday in the magazine Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society.
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It is the first exoplanet in the Neptune desert. To be clear, this is not a dry area in Neptune. Instead, it is a region near the stars where you can not find the planets of the size of a large gas planet.
Here, planets are attacked by radiation from the stars, so they can not maintain their gas atmosphere. They evaporate and only one rocky core remains.
But NGTS-4b still has its own gas atmosphere.
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Astronomers believe that this planet has moved to this region over the past million years, or that it was once even larger and the atmosphere evaporated.
"This planet must be heavy, that's exactly where we expected the planets of the size of Neptune to survive," said Richard West in a statement, author of the study and chief researcher of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick. "It's truly incredible that we found a planet in transit through a star attenuation of less than 0.2%. This has never been done before with earth telescopes, and it was great to find it after a year of work on this project."
This triggered a new quest for more planets and a mission like NASA's planetary hunter TESS could further explore the region.
"We are now reviewing data to see if we can see more planets in the Neptune desert," West said. "Perhaps the desert is greener than previously thought."