A planet that shouldn’t exist was just found orbiting a distant star

A planet that shouldn’t exist was just found orbiting a distant star

The planet lies in an area known as the Neptunian Desert, which is the name given to the region immediately surrounding a star where planets of similar size to Neptune are nearly never found. Here, most bodies disintegrate and lose their atmospheres, but not NGTS-4b.

The planet was identified by an global team of astronomers using the Next-Generation Transit Survey telescopes (NGTS) at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal facility in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Three times the size of Earth and with a similar-sized orbit, the forbidden planet zooms around its star in less than 1.3 days, with a transit depth 30 percent shallower than anything else like it.

The team aren't completely sure why The Forbidden Planet has managed to keep its atmosphere.

NGTS-4b was detected by scientists with the European Southern Observatory. It is a collaboration between UK Universities Warwick, Leicester, Cambridge, and Queen's University Belfast, together with Observatoire de Genève, DLR Berlin and Universidad de Chile. n the search for planets in other stellar systems, the is part of Paranal's arsenal of telescopes.

"This planet must be tough - it is right in the zone where we expected Neptune-sized planets could not survive", lead author Richard West, an astronomer at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

When searching for new planets, astronomers look for a dip in the light of a star-this the planet orbiting it and blocking the light. Known as Hot Neptunian Deserts, these rings of intense irradiation and heat are found right across the Universe - but they may not be as inhospitable as we once thought. A study detailing the planet published Monday in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Discovered using the state-of-the-art Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) observing facility, created to search for transiting planets on bright stars, but NGTS-4b is so small other ground surveys wouldn't have spotted it.

The researchers suspect that NGTS-4b may have only recently moved into the Neptunian Desert, perhaps over the last million years. Yet, it still has its own atmosphere, something that has caused researchers to scratch their heads.

Searches from the ground can usually pick up when a star dims by 1 percent or more, but using the Next Generation Transit Survey for 272 straight nights, astronomers have now picked up the smallest blip yet: a transit depth of just 0.13 percent.

Richard West, a professor in the department of physics at the University of Warwick who worked on the research, called the discovery "truly remarkable" in a press release. "Perhaps the desert is greener than was once thought".

The findings of the global study are featured in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.



Related Posts

White House wanted USS McCain 'hidden' from Trump
The Republicans nearly succeeded but, as he battled brain cancer, Mr McCain voted no - scuppering the party's bid to undo the act. Trump tweeted Thursday that he was not informed about the controversy surrounding the USS John S.

Boots plots hundreds of store closures in new retail blow
The high street chain has a store on Grantham's High Street and a pharmacy on St Peter's Hill. Boots is owned by American firm Walgreens.

Roger Federer vs Oscar Otte, French Open 2019
One seed that did go out, however, was 17th seed Diego Schwartzman as he lost 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-5 to fellow Argentine Leonardo Mayer . It was a similar story in the second set, Federer breaking in the eighth game with a volley before holding for a two-set lead.

Pokemon Sleep is Coming to Turn Your Sleep Schedule into Gameplay
The game will supposedly pick up where the 3DS original ended in a cliffhanger but that's as much the company is willing to say. So far, all we know is that players will be rewarded for sleeping as the length of a snooze will affect gameplay.

"I think it is a goodbye" - Eden Hazard confirms Chelsea future
Luiz also insists at 32 there's more to come from him, he told RMC: "I'm young (laughs)". "I want to say to all the supporters we are in this process", he said.

Vettel: Ferrari not ‘as bad as it looks’
I think we sort of tumbled into second place. "I think it's not a secret, by now, after six races that these tyres this year seem a bit more critical to get exactly into that window".

Why Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched 60 satellites into Earth's orbit
The problem of satellites blocking out the view of telescopes from Earth, exists beyond Musk's Starlink satellite constellation. One, Alex Parker, suggested that there could eventually be more Starlink satellites visible to the naked eye than stars.

TikTok's parent firm ByteDance to make smartphones with special apps
While several big United States internet companies have sought to launch devices, success has mostly been elusive. Amazon created the Fire Phone to promote its services and Facebook partnered with HTC on a dedicated smartphone .

Young girl hit by foul ball at Houston Astros game
That ball would ultimately hit a toddler at the game as the entire Minute Maid park went dead silent after watching what happened. In another update , the Reddit user clarified, "Almora hug with female security guard was one of joy but very emotional".

Australia expected ruthless English fans: Lyon
Mitchell Starc is back from injury and he was the Player of the tournament in the 2015 World Cup as he had scalped 22 wickets. Warner was booed first by spectators last Saturday when he walked out to open with Finch after Australia lost the toss.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.