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Bizarre ancient planet: The land is full of desert, the sky is flooded

Saturday, May 15, 2021 15:36 PM (GMT+7)

A new exoplanet orbiting a 10 billion-year-old “old” dwarf star has been found by French scientists.

According to Sci-News, it is a planet named TOI-220b, located in the TOI-220 system 290 light-years from Earth and in the constellation Pictor.

TOI-220b and its 10 billion-year-old mother star.

Dr. Sergio Hoyer from Aix Marseille University (France), lead author of the study, said the world they found could reveal a lot of information about planets that formed in the “dawn” of the universe. This new planet is a gas planet, about 3 times larger than Earth but 13.8 times heavier, with a density of 2.73g/cm3.

Its parent star is a K-type dwarf that is 10 billion years old, and a planet would normally not be much younger than its “mother” age.

TOI-220b orbits its parent star every 10.7 days at a distance of only 9% of the distance from the Sun to Earth. Due to its extreme proximity to its parent star, it is located in a “death” region of the star system, known as the “Neptune desert”.

Dr Hoyer and his co-authors estimate the planet’s temperature to be around 533 degrees Celsius, and of course hardly habitable. However, its atmosphere is a “submerged” space, rich in water to the point of “supercritical”. Its atmosphere may be composed mainly of hydrogen/helium. In contrast, inside this water-filled gaseous crust lies a mantle rich in silicates, like a peculiar “underground desert”. Its inner core is iron and very large.

Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, they said that to find out the nature of this monstrous ancient planet, they used the HARPS spectrometer on the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla 3.6 m telescope. (ESO) to better analyze the initial data recorded by the “exoplanet hunter” – NASA’s TESS Space Telescope.


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