Research led by planetary astronomer Shubham Kanodia from the Carnegie Institution’s Earth and Planetary Laboratory in Washington DC – USA has found a “sweet” planet named TOI-3757b from a huge database of data. of NASA’s TESS Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
According to Space, the planet’s “mother” is the red dwarf star TOI-3757, located 580 light-years from Earth in the constellation Auri. This makes TOI-3757b unique.
Graphic image depicting the marshmallow planet (right) lit up with a pink-orange glow due to the illumination of a red dwarf star – Photo: NOIRLab/NSF/AURA
According to Dr. Kanodia, giant planets are very unlikely to form around red dwarf stars, with some of the rare ones ever observed being very far away from their parent stars. This is the first close gas planet to be observed around this type of star, although red dwarfs are the most abundant type of star in the Milky Way Earth-containing galaxy, the proportion can be as high as 73%.
The reason for this is that the red dwarf has a powerful radiation that can strip the atmosphere of any gas giants around it. Despite everything, TOI-3757 exists, but of course with special properties.
According to Science Alert, it is slightly larger than Jupiter – the largest planet in the solar system – but has a very low mass, only about 85 times that of Earth. For comparison, Jupiter has 318 times the mass of Earth.
The density of this planet is 0.27 grams per cubic centimeter. It’s an incredibly soft planet – so soft that it’s unclear how it could have formed so close to its star: it only takes 3.43 days to complete one orbit around its parent star.
Dr. Kanodia and colleagues suggest that there could be two factors contributing to it being as light as marshmallows.
First, gas giants form with a rocky core, around which gas accumulates to form a thick and expanding atmosphere. Because this red dwarf contains less heavy elements than other red dwarfs, the rocky core forms a bit more slowly, which would delay gas accumulation and affect the density of the world.
Second, the orbit appears to be somewhat oval, which means its distance from the star varies. Perhaps as it got closer, the atmosphere heated up and inflated.
The team hopes to find many more marshmallow worlds out there, to help figure out how they form and survive in a place where they shouldn’t.
Source: The Astronomical Journal