Brightest stars in the night sky can turn Neptune-sized planets into rocky cores

(ORDO NEWS) — Over the past 25 years, astronomers have discovered over a thousand exoplanets in our galaxy, but more than 99% of them orbit stars that are either smaller or slightly larger than our Sun.

Exoplanets orbiting class A stars such as Sirius and Vega are rare. As a rule, such planets exceed Jupiter in size.

However, scientists from the University of California at Berkeley managed to find a planet the size of Neptune around a class A star. The planet, called HD 56414 b, was found by the NASA TESS mission.

The planet has a radius 3.7 times the radius of the Earth, its orbital period around the star HD 56414 is only 29 days, and the distance from the planet to its star is four times less than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The system is quite young, about 420 million years old.

Small exoplanets like HD 56414 b are easiest to find if they are close to their star. However, researchers believe that if such a planet orbits close to a class A star, then it may lose its atmosphere due to radiation emanating from the star.

In this case, only a stone core will remain of the planet, which is quite difficult to detect. HD 56414 b has been classified as “warm Neptune” because the planet is outside the “hot” zone where it could lose its gas.

Researchers believe that there may be many rocky cores near class A stars that were once Neptunes.

The scientists modeled the effect the star has on HD 56414 b and found that although the planet’s atmosphere will be slowly depleted, it will probably last another billion years before its star collapses into a supernova.

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