In a new discovery, an exoplanet has been found that once again changes preconceptions about how diverse the Universe really is. An announcement on the matter came from astronomers using both the Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescopes. This planet is similar in mass to Neptune from our solar system. However, it seems to be warmer, wetter, and more exotic than anyone predicted.
Warm Neptune Exoplanet Classified
“This exciting new discovery shows that there is a lot more diversity in the atmospheres of these exoplanets than we have previously thought,” stated David Sing from the University of Exeter.
He then added that this warm Neptune is significantly smaller than most of the worlds research has been able to “characterize in depth”. This, in turn, seems to turn this new discovery about HAT-P-26b’s atmosphere into quite a significant breakthrough. It may be an important step forward in the quest of finding out how solar system form. Also, it may make it easier to compare these to our own system.
The new study about HAT-P-26b was published in a paper in the journal Science on May 11. The star system is approximately 430 light-years from ours. It is likely tidally locked, and it is much closer to its star than any of our gas giants. It only takes 4.2 Earth days for it to complete an orbit.
This information was gathered using the telescopes above. These helped view the changes in a star’s light as the planet transits between the star and Earth. Such modifications can assist in determining what molecules are absorbing or reflecting that light in certain wavelengths. One of the most important compounds scientists look for, and one of the easiest to detect is water.