The universe will never cease to amaze us. Scientists make amazing discoveries every day. Hubble spotted a distant planet that is very interesting, to say the least. It appears that this planet is too close to its star, and because of that the planet is currently evaporating.
The planet has been nicknamed “hot Neptune” because of its size. The exoplanet has been named GJ 3470b and scientists believe that it will them understand better how the universe works. The fact that planets evaporate might explain why researchers haven’t discovered medium sized planets yet.
It is also revolutionary to learn that a planet can change in such a short period of time. It is also interesting to observer how GJ 436b, a neighbor of hot Neptune, is also losing its atmosphere. However, since its mass its bigger, there is a chance that 436b won’t be completely destroyed. On the other hand, scientists believe that 3470b will evaporate completely.
“I think this is the first case where this is so dramatic in terms of planetary evolution. It’s one of the most extreme examples of a planet undergoing a major mass-loss over its lifetime. This sizable mass loss has major consequences for its evolution, and it impacts our understanding of the origin and fate of the population of exoplanets close to their stars,” Vincent Bourrier of the University of Geneva and co-author of the work, said in a statement.
If you are wondering why doesn’t happen in our Solar Sytem as well, you should know that Mercury is much further from the Sun than 436b and 3470b are from their star. In fact, the distance is 10 times bigger. This is the reason why Mercury has survived all this time, and it’s unlikely to see it evaporate.