Exoplanets – distant cousins that look like us, and most importantly, offer a glimpse of our own destiny for many years to the future. The spider, the varieties of evaporation, those whose conditions could support a similar life on Earth, every research offers more clues.
Scientists set the Hubble Space Telescope to study the speed and distance the planets are rotating around their stars. Their work has produced a fresh study that is part of an ambitious program Pancromatic Comparative Exoplanet Treasury (PanCET).
Not a small endeavor, PanCET represents the largest exoplanet curriculum for the lifecycle of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The program includes an exhaustive measurement of 20 orbital exoplanets: a combination (1) optical, (2) infrared and (3) UV light is used to measure their atmospheres.
Professor David Sing, a respected professor and researcher of Bloomberg University of Johns Hopkins, led the team, which became a very surprising discovery.
The find was a non-distant exoplanet, GJ 3470b, an exoplanet, located approximately 97 light years far beyond our planet, which is about the size of Neptune's planet.
Evaporation rate, in particular, astonished scientists: it happens quickly 100 times faster than the GJ 436b, previously found approximately the same size. The researchers tried to understand why such loss of mass occurs so quickly.
Professor Sing explained how the planet's behavior reveals many clues about the fate of many other planets investigated by scientists at this time:
"This is a smoking weapon that the planets can lose a significant part of their totality." GJ 3470b loses more of its mass than any other planet we have seen so far, a few billion years later half of the planet may be gone. "
A rare opportunity
In addition to helping to understand the role of evaporation in the loss of planetary mass, the project also provides an opportunity to look at the phenomenon in relatively larger Neptune-sized exoplanets.
They believe that the exoplanet has already lost mostly because of its low density 35% its total mass.
The team also had an advantage when looking at relatively close exoskeleton.
Generally, proof of this type of activity due to the boundaries of existing technology or interstitial material is not possible unless the exoskeletine concerned is 150 light years.
"We will begin to understand how planets are shaped and what features affect their overall makeup," Sing explained.
"Our goal in this study and in the general PanCET program is to look at these planet's atmospheres widely to determine how each planet affects its own environment. By comparing different planets we can begin to combine a larger picture of how they evolve."
The details of the study are reflected in a paper titled "Hubble PanCET: Neutral Neptune GJ 3470b Neutral Astronomy and Physics in leaf.