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A planet disguised as a comet

Astronomers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and members of the NCCR -for National Centre of Competence in Research- PlanetS disco- vered an immense cloud of hydrogen escaping from an exoplanet the size of Neptune.

Planète GJ 436b, artist's impression. (credits: Mark Garlick/University of Warwick)

Planète GJ 436b, artist’s impression. (credits: Mark Garlick/University of Warwick)

This phenomenon generates like a tail or a head of hair giving it the appearance of a giant comet. Already observed in some very large and very hot exoplanets, this phenomenon is viewed for the first time with such a magnitude. The cloud might explain the formation of some hot and rocky super-Earths. It would also be an indicator for detec- ting extrasolar oceans. Finally, it would be used to envisage the future of our atmosphere. These results are published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.

Press release of Geneva University (in french)

Press release of NASA

Original paper of Nature

Categories: News

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