“Una bestia rara”: astrónomos descubren un nuevo tipo de planeta a 260 años luz

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Durante las últimas horas, un equipo de astrónomos de la Universidad de Chile realizaron un sorprendente hallazgo. Una nueva clase de planeta, con un periodo orbital de 19 horas y 1700 grados centígrados de temperatura, fue descubierto a 260 años luz de la Tierra.

El planeta, denominado LTT 9779 b es un exoplaneta encontrado en el Desierto Neptuniano, un área con poca densidad planetaria y que se caracteriza por tener cuerpos gaseosos, lo que permite estudiar las atmósferas planetarias y entender cómo se forman estos planetas.

El hallazgo fue denominado como “el primer Neptuno ultra caliente” de la historia de la astrofísica. El sistema al cual pertenece LTT 9779 b tiene alrededor de la mitad de la edad del Sol, es decir, cerca de 2000 millones de años.

LT 9779 b, que fue calificado como “una bestia rara” dentro del universo de exoplanetas, fue identificado en el segundo de los 26 sectores observados en todo el cielo y las misiones precursoras como Kepler y K2 no detectaron al planeta anteriormente.

Según consideró la Universidad de Chile, este descubrimiento será un importante precedente de los estudios futuros de la atmósfera planetaria y servirán para revelar algunos de los misterios relacionados sobre cómo se forman estos planetas, cómo evolucionan y los detalles que lo constituyen.

El descubrimiento fue dirigido por el astrónomo de la Universidad de Chile, James Jenkins, quien explicó algunas cuestiones sobre el hallazgo. “Es muy difícil explicar por qué este planeta no se convirtió en un núcleo de roca. No creo que podamos encontrar muchos más ejemplos como éste orbitando en otras estrellas tan brillantes”, dijo Jenkins.

“Se habla de un descubrimiento poco probable porque se encuentra en una región llamada el Desierto Neptuno, donde casi no hay planetas. Esta región es característica porque sus planetas tienen períodos de órbitas de menos de cuatro días, y con masas y tamaños similares a Neptuno“, sostuvo el experto.

Para Jenkins, este descubrimiento es importante porque “permitirá comprender mucho más sobre la química y los procesos físicos de las atmósferas de planetas con características similares a Neptuno, los exo-Neptunos”. “Esto nos permitirá aprender mucho más sobre los procesos de formación y evolución de planetas en general, es un planeta muy especial“, indicó.

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