Astronomers have used NASA's TESS data for planetary hunting to make an unusual discovery: a planet the size of Neptune, orbiting extremely close to its star. The planet TOI-1
Hot neptunes are rare, although astronomers often find planets the size of Jupiter or star. Somewhat larger than the Earth's orbits near their stars, very few Neptune-sized planets have been discovered in this vicinity. Astronomers believe that this could be due to atmospheric loss, as Neptune-sized planets near their stars lose gases from their atmosphere and rapidly disintegrate into smaller earth-sized planets.
This has led to a phenomenon that astronomers often call the "Neptune Desert," an area around a star where planets of Neptune magnitude are almost never found.
"Although planets of Neptune size orbiting sun-like stars are common, they are very rare in short cycle times, "said researcher Dr Matias Diaz of the Universidad de Chile and colleagues in their work." A number of early studies pointed to a shortage of planets of Neptune size with periods of less than 2 to 4 days , and the term & # 39; Neptune's Desert & # 39; was coined to explain this deficiency. "
With the discovery of TOI-132b, the researchers have found a hot Neptune sitting directly on the border of this Neptune desert, the star around which the planet revolves, TOI-132 , is a G-dwarf star that is 6 billion years old and slightly smaller and less massive than our Sun.
To understand why TOI-132b has survived, but other hot Neptune have not, the scientists have They found that it is heavy, about 23 times heavier than the Earth and has a rocky core that makes it tight, which helped to survive the atmosphere of the planet, which probably prevented it It has been eroded into a smaller form. "The survival of the atmosphere on the planet is probably due to the large core mass and the incompatibility of either 100% rock or water," said the F orscher in her article.
The article is available for reading in the pre-publication archive arXiv and is published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.