NASA Unusual Discovery: Rare Hot Neptune Is Spotted By TESS Planet-Hunting Satellite

Astronomers have reportedly used data from NASA’s planet-hunting satellite TESS in order to mark a really strange discovery.

It’s been revealed by the online publication Digital Trends that there’s a Neptune-sized planet that’s orbiting really close to its star.

“Planet TOI-132b has an orbital period of just 2.11 days, and its surface temperature is estimated to be a scorching 2,032 degrees Fahrenheit (1,111 degrees Celsius),” the online publication writes.

What are Hot Neptunes?

They also make sure to highlight the fact that, just in case you did not know, hot Neptunes are some pretty rare planets that have a size similar to Neptune. Even though these are rare, astronomers often find planets that are about the size of Jupiter or a bit larger than our planet in orbits near to their stars.

According to experts, this might be due to atmospheric loss because it’s important to know that Neptune-sized planets that are close to their stars lose gases from their atmosphere and they are rapidly eroded into smaller Earth-sized planets.

According to the online publication mentioned above, this has lead to a phenomenon that astronomers refer to as the “Neptune desert,” an area around a star in which Neptune-sized planets are almost never found.

“Although Neptune-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars are fairly abundant, at short orbital periods they are very rare,” researcher Dr. Matias Diaz of the Universidad de Chile and colleagues said, according to their paper.

Diaz continued and explained that “A number of early studies indicated a lack of Neptune-sized planets with periods shorter than 2-4 days, and the term ‘Neptune desert’ was coined to explain this paucity.”

NASA made headlines again today when we reported that the space agency discovered another NEO.

This asteroid will fly towards our planet on a close approach trajectory – 2019 UR2 will arrive today. During this close approach, the asteroid will hit speeds of 48,420kph  – 30,086mph.

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