The planet “TOI-3757 b” recently discovered by astronomers has some intriguing characteristics, such as being larger than Jupiter. But that’s nothing compared to his nickname “Marshmallow”.
An exoplanet has been detected by the telescope located at Kit Peak National Observatory in Arizona, United States. The team of experts calculated the density of “TOI-3757 b” using diameter and mass analysis.
The result of data published on the website of the NOIRLab astronomical research laboratory indicated a density of less than half that of Saturn, the least dense planet in our solar system.
It has intriguingly been compared to candy because of its unique feature: it’s the least dense gaseous orb ever, and it orbits a red dwarf star – “cooler” than the Sun and other large stars. To understand what this means, imagine that if we put it whole in a giant puddle, it would float in the water.
Light, fast and extraordinary
Some properties of the giant “marshmallow” are of interest to researchers. Starting with its powerful dimensions:TOI-3757 b “Its 150,000 km wide – to give you an idea, the diameter of the Earth is only 12,756 km.
Also, the “general” on the orb passes. That’s because the red dwarf’s orbital motion is very fast – a full revolution is completed in just 3.5 days.
What really intrigues scientists is the longevity of the “marshmallow planet” around this dwarf star, which is very active. The star is in constant activity, emitting powerful explosions, capable of even ejecting a planet from its atmosphere. In theory, this would be inhospitable to housing a planet at such a low density. But, by the way, “TOI-3757 B “Arrived to break patterns.
“Giant planets around red dwarf stars have traditionally been considered difficult to form,” he said. smoldering CanodiaResearcher in the Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Institute Carnegiein her statement on NOIRLab.
Red dwarf stars are the smallest members of the so-called “main sequence stars”. They convert hydrogen into helium through nuclear fusion, but compared to our Sun, they are much cooler.
How is this possible?
Scientists reveal that there are some hypotheses for the existence of such an unfavorable union. The low density of TOI-3757 b can be explained by the low presence of heavy elements in the rocky core, with an effect on the general density of the “marshmallow planet” after formation.
The second possibility relates to the orbit of an exoplanet. Scientists suggest that it is slightly elliptical – that is, the celestial body moves in an oval shape. Thus, sometimes the orb is further from the star, at other times closer. This extra heat during its flight may cause the planet’s atmosphere to swell.
“Finding more such systems with giant planets – which were thought to be very rare around red dwarfs – is part of our goal to understand how planets form,” Kanudia adds.
The discovery is important to take another step toward understanding exoplanets, including those revealed by the TESS mission, from NASA. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has a mission to track and characterize the atmospheres of these planets, and these data bring information to astronomers about their composition and how they formed. In the case of rocky orbs, it is possible to tell if they are habitable, and even if they are capable of supporting life.
With information from Space.com
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