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Researcher Discover a giant world of Helium gas, a balloon like Exoplanet in deep Space

Yet another search for exoplanets has led scientists to discover a strange balloon-like planet in deep space filled up with helium.
Scientists from the University of Geneva have discovered a bizarre planet in deep space some 124 light years away, having a helium-filled atmosphere, shape similar to a balloon and size the same as Neptune.
Scientists described the planet, named HAT-P-11b, by spotting helium gas coming out of the planet’s atmosphere in a cloud ‘just as a helium balloon might escape from a person’s hand’.
As per CNN, the new planet is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. The planet is considered as ‘warm Neptune’ with an average temperature of 550°C. Neptune, for comparison, is the farthest in our Solar System and is one of the coldest one with the average temperature of almost -214°C.
The discovery marks as the first one to ever have the detailed observation of how helium escapes from the gas giant’s atmosphere. Study co-author Vincent Bourrier said, “Helium is blown away from the day side of the planet to its night side at over 10,000 kilometers an hour. Because it is such a light gas, it escapes easily from the attraction of the planet and forms an extended cloud all around it,” which in turn gives the planet its balloon shape.
HAT-P-11b was found using a new 4-meter ground-based telescope called Carmenes. The instrument is a spectrograph that separates a star’s light into the colors that make it up, similar to a rainbow. This uncovers the spectrum, a measurement of the number of colors that compose this light.
“This is a really exciting discovery, particularly as helium was only detected in exoplanet atmospheres for the first time earlier this year. Hopefully, we can use this new study to learn what types of planets have large envelopes of hydrogen and helium, and how long they can hold the gases in their atmospheres,” said study author Jessica Spake.
Publishing their study in the journal Science, the team believes that this discovery could lead to a better understanding of extreme atmospheric conditions around the hottest exoplanets, reported Independent.


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