(ORDO NEWS) — A newly discovered exoplanet just 200 light-years away could shed new light on one of planetary science’s strangest mysteries.
This object is very unusual. Mainly due to its colossal size for a rocky planet.
With a radius roughly 1.8 times that of Earth, TOI-1075b is among the largest super-Earth exoplanets astronomers have discovered to date.
It is notable for the fact that its radius is in the range of the so-called minor planet radius gap. This gap represents an apparent shortage of planets with radii from 1.5 to 2 Earth.
Largest super earth
Several smaller rocky super-Earths have been discovered. So do the somewhat larger, thick-atmosphere worlds known as mini-Neptunes.
Planets with radii between these two indicators have hardly been observed before. But the object discovered by astronomers just falls into this mass range.
The mass of TOI-1075b is 9.95 times the mass of the Earth. This is too much for the gas world; at the assumed density, the exoplanet is likely to be rocky, like Mercury, Earth, Mars, and Venus.
This feature makes it an ideal candidate for studying theories of planetary formation and evolution.
TOI-1075b was discovered in data from NASA‘s TESS telescope, which searches for exoplanets. TESS is looking for weak regular dips in the emission of stars, assuming that exoplanets orbit these stars.
Astronomers can also determine the radius of an exoplanet based on how much light from a star is obscured by it.
Astronomers were able to accurately calculate the mass of the exoplanet – it turned out to be equal to 9.95 Earth. And the radius turned out to be at the level of 1.791 Earth radii.
If you know how big and heavy something is, you can calculate its average density. For TOI-1075b, it turned out to be 9.32 grams per cubic centimeter.
That’s almost twice Earth’s density at 5.51 grams per cubic centimeter, making it a contender for the densest super-Earth ever discovered.
This exoplanet should have a substantial hydrogen-helium atmosphere. The density of TOI-1075b is incompatible with a dense atmosphere.
This is very curious. According to scientists, most likely, the planet may not even have an atmosphere, but an ocean of magma can be drilled to the surface.
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