An international group of astronomers discovered a previously unknown exoplanet LTT 9779b, belonging to a completely new type of “superhot Neptune”. The first part of its name is explained by its proximity to its star, which is why the temperature on the surface of LTT 9779b exceeds 1700 ° C, and the period of revolution around the star (that is, a planetary year – ed. TechCult.ru) is only 19 hours.
Astronomers included “Neptune” in the name of the planet, based on a close analogy with our solar system. The size of the LTT 9779b is not much larger than its “namesake”, but at the same time it is much larger in weight. According to the calculations of researchers, the core of the exoplanet is 28 times heavier than the mass of the Earth. An important feature of the LTT 9779b is the presence of an atmosphere that makes up about 9% of its mass.
The mystery for scientists is how the planet managed to preserve the atmosphere during the two billion years of the existence of this system, because in the conditions of powerful radiation from a nearby star, this is simply impossible. According to one version, LTT 9779b was once a gas giant before taking on its modern form, but the powerful gravity of the star absorbed most of the layers around it.
Lead research specialist James Jenkins put forward another version, according to which LTT 9779b “arrived” rather late in its current orbit, not having time to free itself from its atmosphere.