Neptune Desert hosts forbidden planet

Research: Astronomers find 'Forbidden' planet in 'Neptunian Desert' around its star

The planet orbits its star in 1.3 Earth days and is about three times the size of our home planet. It is a collaboration between UK Universities Warwick, Leicester, Cambridge, and Queen's University Belfast, together with Observatoire de Genève, DLR Berlin and Universidad de Chile. It has also been nick-named "The Forbidden Planet".

"This planet must be tough-it is right in the zone where we expected Neptune-sized planets could not survive", Richard West, author of the study from the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

NGTS-4b, a newly-discovered world orbiting a distant star, doesn't follow numerous rules that researchers thought they knew, and it's earned the nickname "The Forbidden Planet" because of it. We think it's probably about 1,000℃ on this planet. To avoid confusion, the Neptune Desert is not a desolate area somewhere on the planet Neptune. As Dr. Richard West, from the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, states that "The Forbidden Planet" must be tough, as it located in such harsh conditions.

Astronomers have spotted a mysterious "forbidden" planet in an area around its star where planets should see their atmosphere boiled away by radiation. In other words, scientists look for distortion in the light coming from a star, indicating the presence of a planet. It has a temperature of about 1,832F (over 1,000 degrees hotter than Mercury) and it also possesses an atmosphere.

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This is the first exoplanet to be found in the so-called Neptunian Desert, and just goes to show that there are still many surprises out there in the exoplanet population.

Similar techniques could now be used to discover more mysterious planets in the future. However, as scientists proved, NGTS-4b is an exception, as it does have a gaseous atmosphere. They found it using the Next Generation Transit Survey facility, a robotic planet hunting system located at Paranal Observatory, in the Atacama desert in Chile.

"We are now scouring our data to see if we can see any more planets in the Neptune Desert". The region is known to receive high levels of radiation from its host star, which causes gaseous atmosphere from planets to eventually evaporate and leave only a rocky core.

The exoplanet was discovered after astronomers observed it passing in front of its star, a process known as transiting. And previous surveys have indeed found no planets in this zone. The telescopes monitor the characteristic dip in a star's brightness that signals an exoplanet is nearby: the planet blocks out the light from the star as it passes along its orbit.

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