A new planet similar to Neptune can help us better understand distant planetary systems as well as our own, according to NASA. But unfortunately, humans are unlikely to ever reach the distant, gaseous world.
TOI-1231 b is more than 3.5 times the size of the earth and is uncomfortably hot by earthing standards and records temperatures of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 Celsius). Although it’s hard to imagine, compared to the rest of the known universe, it’s actually one of those “Coolest” small planets to be identified.
Technically, TOI-1231 b is classified as an exoplanet, as it is a planet orbiting another star – in this case a red dwarf star, which is smaller than our own sun, but has a longer lifespan. The exoplanet has an incredibly short year, as it orbits the red dwarf star once every 24 days.
Discovered by an international team of astronomers led by Dr. Jennifer Burt, an exoplanet scientist at NASA̵
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For now, it seems that it is sufficient to look at the world through a telescope. TOI-1231 b is located about 90 light-years from Earth. To put the figure in perspective, a light year corresponds to approx. 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km). It may not be such a tragedy, but according to NASA, the planet is uninhabitable because of its size.
Because of what we already know about TOI-1231 b, it is possible that scientists will find evidence of water-based clouds in its atmosphere, NASA said. And because the distant planetary system is moving at a high speed away from Earth, it is conceivable that hydrogen atoms leaving the planet’s atmosphere will give TOI-1231 ba ‘tail’.
The discovery of the planet follows a number of other promising developments that may help us solve the mystery of the universe. In April, Spanish astronomers announced that they had completed the most accurate image ever of the Milky Way, discovering a huge new hidden structure consisting of massive blue stars spanning 10,000 light-years, providing insight into the building blocks of our own DNA.
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