Scientists Discovered a "Super-Puff" Planet Over 210 Light Years Away

It's characterized by its cotton candy-like atmosphere.  

Shooting stars and lunar eclipses have become pretty commonplace, but scientists recently made a new discovery that we do get to decode for the first time. According to the Daily Mail, scientists from the University of Montreal just found a "super-puff" planet. This is one of the least dense exoplanets uncovered to date, and it earned its moniker because of its cotton candy-like appearance.

view of WASP-107b "super-puff" planet
ESA/Hubble, NASA, and M. Kornmesser

The super-puff planet, officially named WASP-107b, is 212 light years away from Earth. The researchers found this planet in the Virgo constellation after digging into their research from the Keck Observatory. Their other findings? Researchers discovered that the super-puff planet actually has an unusual size and density. In fact, the planet is the same size as Jupiter, but it only seems to be one-tenth of its weight. The team noted that WASP-107b has a core of just about four times Earth's mass, meaning that its weight largely comes from the layer of gas around the planet's core.

"For WASP-107b, the most plausible scenario is that the planet formed far away from the star, where the gas in the disc is cold enough that gas accretion can occur very quickly," Professor Eve Lee, a super-puff planet expert, said. "The planet was later able to migrate to its current position, either through interactions with the disc or with other planets in the system."

Caroline Piaulet, a PhD student at the University of Montreal and the lead author of the study, added that a deep understanding of the planet's formation could be able to help uncover more about exoplanets than ever before. "Its great eccentricity hints at a rather chaotic past, with interactions between the planets which could have led to significant displacements, like the one suspected for WASP-107b," she said. "Exoplanets like WASP-107b that have no analogue in our solar system allow us to better understand the mechanisms of planet formation in general and the resulting variety of exoplanets. It motivates us to study them in great detail."

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