Recently, a group of astronomers made an amazing discovery: a new exoplanet was discovered, which was classified as a super-Earth. However, TOI-244 b differs from other planets of this type in its low density. Astronomers discovered this planet using the TESS spacecraft, which was created to search for exoplanets in transit.
TOI-244 b contains iron and silicates in the same proportion as Earth. However, it turned out to be much less dense than our planet and than most super-Earths of this size. This may be due to the presence of a significant amount of volatile elements on the planet.
“Atmospheric loss processes on this planet could be very effective in removing a potential primordial hydrogen envelope,” the study authors say. However, high average molecular weight volatiles such as water could remain.
TOI-244 b orbits a bright star that is almost half the size and mass of our Sun. The radius of this super-Earth is 1.52 Earth radii, and its mass is about 2.68 of the mass of our planet. It orbits its host star every 7.4 days and is about 0.056 AU from it. The equilibrium temperature on the surface of a super-Earth is estimated at about 185 degrees Celsius.
The study of TOI-244 b may lead to new discoveries and research in the future.
“This is a very interesting discovery that could help us better understand how exoplanets form and how they evolve over time,” says astronomy professor John Smith. “The low density of TOI-244 b could be related to the presence of significant amounts of volatile elements on the planet, which could give us new ideas about what other exoplanets we might look for in the future.”