A high internal heat flux and large core in a warm neptune exoplanet. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38768634/)

These scientists wanted to learn more about a special planet called WASP-107b, which is similar in size to Neptune and is very hot at around 750 degrees Celsius. They used powerful telescopes like the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope to study the planet's atmosphere.

By looking at the light that passes through the planet's atmosphere, they were able to detect different molecules like water (H2O), methane (CH4), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ammonia (NH3). This helped them figure out that the planet has a lot of metals in its atmosphere compared to our Sun, and the temperature inside the planet is very high.

The scientists think that the high temperature inside the planet is causing it to expand, like how a balloon gets bigger when you blow air into it. This expansion is likely due to the gravitational pull of another nearby object, which is heating up the planet and affecting its atmosphere and internal structure.

Overall, this study shows that the way planets interact with their atmospheres and internal properties can have a big impact on their size, density, and chemistry.

Welbanks L., Bell TJ., Beatty TG., Line MR., Ohno K., Fortney JJ., Schlawin E., Greene TP., Rauscher E., McGill P., Murphy M., Parmentier V., Tang Y., Edelman I., Mukherjee S., Wiser LS., Lagage PO., Dyrek A., Arnold KE. A high internal heat flux and large core in a warm neptune exoplanet. Nature. 2024 May 20. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07514-w.

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