‘Weird’ new planet retained atmosphere despite nearby star’s relentless radiation | News World

A rare exoplanet that should have been stripped down to bare rock by its nearby host star’s intense radiation somehow grew a puffy atmosphere instead — the latest in a string of discoveries forcing scientists to rethink theories about how planets age and die in extreme environments.

Nicknamed “Phoenix” for its ability to survive its red giant star’s radiant energy, the newly discovered planet illustrates the vast diversity of solar systems and the complexity of planetary evolution — especially at the end of stars’ lives.

The findings are published in The Astronomical Journal.

“This planet isn’t evolving the way we thought it would, it appears to have a much bigger, less dense atmosphere than we expected for these systems,” said Sam Grunblatt, a Johns Hopkins University astrophysicist who led the research. “How it held on to that atmosphere despite being so close to such a large host star is the big question.”

The new planet belongs to a category of rare worlds called “hot…

Source www.sciencedaily.com

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