Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet with a density similar to cotton candy

(ORDO NEWS) — It is the “fluffiest” exoplanet discovered to date.

This planet is located in the constellation Auriga in orbit near a cold red dwarf at a distance of 580 light-years from Earth.

Red dwarfs are small, dim stars that are still fusing hydrogen into helium through nuclear fusion.

They are the most common stars in the Milky Way and make up about 73% of all stars in our galaxy.

Although they are colder than the Sun, they are still very active and cause powerful eruptions that can destroy the atmosphere of any planet in orbit.

In this regard, the newly discovered world, named TOI-3757 b, is so close to its star that it completes one orbit in just 3.5 Earth days, which is 25 times faster than that of Mercury.

“Traditionally it was thought that giant planets near red dwarfs were difficult to form,” explains astronomer Shubham Canodia of the Carnegie Institution’s Earth and Planetary Science Laboratory.

How did an exoplanet form?

Astronomers believe they can explain how the low-density gas giant formed under such unfavorable conditions. This was facilitated by two factors.

The first factor is related to the process of formation of gas giants, which appear with massive rocky cores, about 10 times the mass of the Earth, attracting a large amount of surrounding gas.

The second factor is that the low content of heavy elements in the parent star slows down the formation of the planet’s core, which is important for the overall density of the planet.

The orbit of this planet is slightly oval, indicating a periodically changing distance to the star. It is likely that as the planet approaches, the atmosphere heats up and expands.

Now a team of astronomers hopes to find and study other similar “fluffy” worlds to find out how they form and survive in adverse conditions.


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