How a Fluffy Exoplanet Can Help Us Understand Planetary Formation?

WASP-107b is the first fluffy exoplanet ever spotted by astronomers in our galaxy. The exoplanet flaunts quite the traits, and it orbits an orange dwarf star almost 211 light-years away.

New research, however, aims to change our perspective about WASP-107b. How so? 

Apparently, the fluffy exoplanet has more to tell us than previously believed. It can help astronomers understand how giant planets form.

Here is what you need to know.

WASP-107b: the Puffiest of Them All

New research indicates that WASP-107b is even puffier than we initially believed. What does this mean?

According to the team of astronomers, the exoplanet’s heart is much less massive than previously measured, a fact that may unveil more about the exoplanet research overall.

The team’s work

The team, conducted by physicist Caroline Piaulet from the University of Montreal, first review the mass of WASP-107b. The astronomers used four years of data from the Keck Observatory to calculate how much the star “traveled” as influenced by the exoplanet’s gravitational pull.

Next, the team applied a new calculation and realized an advanced examination of WASP-107b’s composition. What they found is genuinely intriguing.

The finding

The team discovered that the solid heart of WASP-107b could be no bigger than approximately 4.6 times the mass of our planet. Such a result suggests that more than 85 % of WASP-107b’s mass is right in its puffy atmosphere.

Astronomer Eve Lee from the McGill University in Canada released a statement about WASP-107b. She said:

“[…] the planet formed far away from the star, where the gas in the disc is cold enough that gas accretion can occur very quickly.”

Other Significant Details

The team made another striking discovery in their prolonged observations of the star. They detected a second exoplanet and dubbed it WASP-107c.

The exoplanet is much farther out and is on an eccentric 1,088-day orbit, indicating a gravitational synergy with another cosmic object, yet to be identified.

More details should soon be available. The team will continue its observations.

 

Georgia Nica
Writing was, and still is, my first passion. I love all that cool stuff about science and technology. I’ll try my best to bring you the latest news every day.