“Preadolescent” exoplanet 150 light years away discovered with TESS

The discovery of a new exoplanet, which occurred through the TESS space telescope, could clarify the ways of the origin of the formation of planetary bodies.

The new planet, called DS Tuc Ab, is about six times larger than the Earth and is probably a gaseous planet, similar for example to Neptune or Saturn. The most interesting information concerning this exoplanet, however, lies in the fact that it is a “pre-adolescent” considering the age scale of a planet’s life, a life that can last even for billions of years.

Researchers believe, in fact, that it is in a stage where fast changes characterize its surface; for example, it is losing a lot of atmospheric gas due to the faults coming from the star around which it orbits, DS Tuc A (HD 222259A, TIC 410214986), 150 light-years away from Earth.

The star is very bright, which allows researchers to study the planet more detail “because more photons will get the best statistics,” says Elisabeth Newton, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College and one of the authors of the study that saw the participation other researchers from the University of North Carolina, University of Texas at Austin and other research institutions.

Given that this is a planet in the process of being formed, now the researchers hope to be able to detect the same evaporation of the atmosphere, a process in some ways still obscure: being able to observe it almost directly would provide important information about the formation of the planets, even those that are found within our solar system.

Steven Cooper

I was a humanities major at Strayer University before switching to mechanical engineering, graduating in 2017 and since entering an internship and full-time employment. I have always loved reading science magazines including New Scientist, Scientific American and All About Space, and consider myself fairly well educated on a range of fields. It was therefore a natural choice for me to join Capstory News as a volunteer contributor and editor.

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Steven Cooper