Scientists at NASA announced on Wednesday that a new exoplanet was spotted while leaving massive cloud of hydrogen gas behind. The recent discovery was made with the help of NASA’s Hubble Telescope and was useful to astronomers as they could further study the behavior of the distant red dwarf.
“The Behemoth” as researchers have nicknamed the planet received a catalogue name, as well. It currently goes under the name of GJ 436b, based on the information that the study group has managed to collect on the celestial body.
The leader of the research group is David Ehrenreich, who has managed to make a reputation due to his scientific activity at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. In spite of his vast experience in the domain, the astronomer was still surprised to see the massive cloud of hydrogen gas that the exoplanet is leaving behind.
According to astronomers’ calculations, the gas trail of GJ 436b is 50 times bigger than the star’s system. Additional studies revealed that the celestial planet has a very hot surface because it is incredibly close to its Sun.
The distance between the two planets is so small that the year lasts only for approximately 2.64 days. Its high temperature is due to the fact that the planet belongs to the category of the “hot Neptunes” star and it is located at around 33 light years away from our planet in the Leo constellation.
By closely analyzing the structure of the cloud, researchers have concluded that the trail is most likely caused by the planet’s loss of 1,000 metric tons of hydrogen per second. Based on this information they were able to infer that the outer space object might be evaporating itself.
Luckily, GJ 436b is still safe now as the nitrogen losses that it has suffered so far do not pose any threats to its existence. It was estimated that “the Behemoth” lost 10 percent of its atmosphere until now and scientists will pay close attention to this phenomenon in the following period to determine the future evolution of the red dwarf planet.
The discovery of the exoplanet has helped shed light on the study of these planets’ atmosphere.
Scientists’ impressions and conclusions on GJ 436b have been published in the journal Science.
Image source: sciencedaily.com