An international team of astronomers has identified a new extrasolar planet next to its star: they make up a strange alien world located about 182 light years from Earth. According to specialists, it is the largest sub-Neptunian planet discovered so far, with a radius that is practically three times that of Earth.
The subneptunes or subneptunian planets are stars that have a dimension smaller than Neptune, either in terms of their radius or their mass. Those planets that are closest to Neptune’s characteristics are considered weirder and more unusual, even if they are only slightly larger than expected in a typical sub-Neptune. The size of this type of planets is directly linked to the gas available and the pressure conditions that exist during the formation process.
A SINGLE EXOPLANET?
In the new research, published in arXiv, astronomers describe a new extrasolar planetary system identified thanks to data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Study Satellite (TESS).
In principle they have discovered an exoplanet called TOI-2406 b , orbiting the dwarf star known as TOI-2406 . However, it is not yet possible to confirm or rule out the presence of other bodies accompanying the discovered planet.
In order to find transiting exoplanets, TESS is conducting a study of around 200,000 bright stars located near the Sun. So far, it has identified more than 4,400 “candidate” or potential exoplanets , of which astronomers have confirmed 144 up to today.
AN UNUSUAL CASE
The star TOI-2406 is poor in metals , reaching a radius of 0.2 solar radii and a mass estimated at around 0.16 masses of the Sun. Meanwhile, the exoplanet TOI-2406 b has a dimension of 2.94 radii. terrestrial, while data from observations indicate that this extrasolar planet orbits its parent star every 3.07 days.
According to a press release , both the low metallicity of the star and the relatively large size and short orbital period of the exoplanet make the new alien world strange to the vision of specialists: they consider it an unusual case that could modify the model classic planet formation.
For one thing, large sub-Neptunian planets like TOI-2406 b are rare and rare. At the same time, experts believe that another original feature of the system is that this large planet orbits a low-mass star. In other words, they believe that the study of the formation process of this planetary system could provide new and valuable information about mechanisms unknown until now, and that they could form part of the logic of extrasolar worlds.
MYSTERIES TO BE SOLVED
In the conclusions of the new study, the scientists indicated that more observations of the star TOI-2406 are needed to obtain more details about the properties of the system. For example, conducting radial velocity monitoring studies will make it possible to determine the exact mass of the extrasolar planet and rule out or not possible bodies that accompany the exoplanet.
It will be necessary to wait for new research to appreciate the real magnitude of this discovery and to know all the information that this strange alien world has to provide us, located less than 200 light years from our planet.