NASA Reveals a Strange Hybrid Exoplanet

NASA Reveals a Strange Hybrid Exoplanet

NASA has declared that in space it is discovered hybrid exoplanet name Gliese 3470 b (GJ 3470 b.)

Universetoday mentioned that “a strange world, kind of like a hybrid between Earth and Neptune. It has a rocky core like Earth, but is surrounded by an atmosphere made of hydrogen and helium. That combination is unlike anything in our own Solar System”.

The planet orbits a red dwarf star that is called Gliese 3470, in the constellation Cancer. GJ 3470 b is about 12.6 Earth masses, meaning it’s roughly halfway between Earth and Neptune in mass. (Neptune is about 17 Earth masses).

NASA Reveals a Strange Hybrid Exoplanet
The Spitzer Space Telescope is the last of four telescopes in NASA’s Great Observatories Program. It observes in the infrared. It’s mission will be over in January, 2020. Credit: NASA

“This is a big discovery from the planet-formation perspective. The planet orbits very close to the star and is far less massive than Jupiter – 318 times Earth’s mass – but has managed to accrete the primordial hydrogen/helium atmosphere that is largely ‘unpolluted’ by heavier elements,” said Björn Benneke of the University of Montreal in Canada, in a NASA press release. “We don’t have anything like this in the solar system, and that’s what makes it striking.”

Scientists also measured the loss of reflected light as the exoplanet passed behind the star. Altogether, the pair of space telescopes observed 12 transits and 20 eclipses.

NASA Reveals a Strange Hybrid Exoplanet
hybrid exoplanet name Gliese 3470 b (GJ 3470 b

“We expected an atmosphere strongly enriched in heavier elements like oxygen and carbon which are forming abundant water vapor and methane gas, similar to what we see on Neptune,” said Benneke. “Instead, we found an atmosphere that is so poor in heavy elements that its composition resembles the hydrogen/helium-rich composition of the Sun.”

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