Tag Archives: planet

When NASA found the first ever ‘Ultrahot Neptune’

LOSING MY ATMOSPHERE  Astronomers think “hot Jupiter” exoplanets could lose their atmospheres as they draw close to their stars (as shown in this illustration), leaving scorched rocky worlds. The TESS telescope may have caught this transition in the act.

 Astronomers have spotted a new kind of planet: a Neptune-sized world sitting scorchingly close to its star. 

Astronomers have found a very hot planet, has the same size as that of a Planet Neptune.

It could be in the midst of transforming from a hot, puffy gas giant to a naked rocky core, astronomer James Jenkins reported July 29, 2019 at the TESS Science Conference at MIT.

“This planet is amazing. It’s the first of its kind,” says astronomer Elisabeth Adams of the Planetary Science Institute, who is based in Somerville, Mass. Adams studies larger planets that orbit close to their stars but weren’t involved in the discovery.

The planet is named LTT 9779b, orbits a star which is similar to our sun, and it’s about 260 light-years away. It was discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS. The Satellite was launched in April 2018. 

Data collected by TESS show that the planet swings around its star once every 19 hours, putting it in a rare class of planets that orbit incredibly close to their stars.

Most other planets with such close orbits are either Earth-sized or Jupiter-sized and larger, said Jenkins, of the University of Chile in Santiago. But LTT 9779b is 4.6 times Earth’s size and 29.3 times Earth’s mass, placing it right in the middle of those extremes. Its proximity to its star should heat it to about 2000 kelvins (about 1725° Celsius), making it the first known ultrahot Neptune, Jenkins said.

One explanation for how close-in planets get cozy with their stars is that the worlds (Planets) form farther away and migrate closer over time. A planet that had a thick, gaseous atmosphere might lose more and more of that gas the closer it comes to its star, as the heat evaporates the atmosphere or the star’s gravity steals the gas away.

At about 2.5 million kilometers from its star, LTT 9779b may be about the closest a planet can physically get before the star gobbles up all of the atmospheres. If so, it could be a bridge between exoplanets called hot Jupiters, which are gas giants like Jupiter but have many closer-in orbits, and smaller, scorched rocky worlds, Jenkins suggested. The new planet is much smaller than a hot Jupiter, but still has a thick atmosphere that makes up about 9 percent of its mass, he said. 

The next step is to measure how quickly LTT 9779b is losing mass, Adams says. If it’s rapid, that could explain why no other ultrahot Neptunes have been discovered: They shift from gas giant to rocky core too quickly. Finding one mid-transition may have been a stroke of luck.

Icy planets with rains of diamond

Ever wondered why diamond is so precious? What makes it so unique? Is it a marketing strategy or rarity in nature as around 250 tons of Earth ­­­­­get removed to find a carat of a diamond? We don’t know exactly, but we do know that both diamond and graphite are pure carbon. What exactly makes it distinguishable is the internal molecular structure. A diamond can be so powerful that it cannot cut by any other object; instead, it gets cut by another diamond, which makes it so unique. These diamonds made it reach everywhere, making it globally like a social status to show.

A hypothesis says that the information collected from Voyager 2 depicts the abundance of diamond-like structures on the planets Neptune and Uranus. This phenomenon happens due to extremely high pressure and temperature on these icy planets and maybe found in deep in the core too. More than 40 years after the mission, now finally can demonstrate the same by the researchers under similar conditions and factors in the controlled environment.

Diamonds or crystals?

These diamond formations can be due to methane present, and also, it can be found on other planets too in the form of pure diamond, even in the stars. Why are we restricted then? This problem is because the Milky Way itself has many undiscovered planets, and it is almost 3-4 billion kilometers away from the Earth. Also, Uranus is nearly four times the Earth in size.

Imagine you gather diamonds, but how do you distinguish between a fake one out of a bunch of collected objects? The answer is simple, and there are many methods, one of them is a fog test; blow a few times to the diamond, if it doesn’t remain foggy for long, you can keep it in your collection. The findings mention about high powered optical lasers to heat polystyrene to its maximum. But there is no such item in the actual planets, and it was a substitute to the methane deep down at 8 thousand kilometers or more, by using two shockwaves to generate heat up to 5 thousand Kelvin and pressure close to half of the force present at the core of the Earth at 150 GPa.

The solar system

As diamonds are more massive in density, it isn’t easy to find them, and so now the artificial diamonds are being created by explosives, although lasers can help if there are some new findings. The gemstone made artificially is perfect in shape. Marvin Ross, in 1981 wrote the article describing the possibilities of diamonds on these planets.

To conclude, diamonds can be shiny bright, but the actual component is still black. Carbon itself has so many usages, it is one of the major parts on Earth found abundantly, but a diamond is always rare. Be a diamond, not to discriminate, no matter how dark your future is, you can still outshine and be a model. You won’t need diamond rains when life itself is showering diamonds in your life when you’re successful.