Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Red Dwarf Burns Off Planet’s Hydrogen Giving It Massive Comet-Like Tail


A giant cloud escaping from a warm, Neptune-mass exoplanet is reported in this week’s Nature.

Depicted in an image by Mark Garlick and issued by the University of Warwick, it has been suggested that low-mass exoplanets orbiting close to their parent stars could have had some fraction of their atmospheres ‘burnt off’ by extreme irradiation from the star, but confident measures of such losses have been lacking until now.

Mark Garlick/University of Warwick

A large cloud of hydrogen gas absorbing the light from a red dwarf star as its exoplanet, GJ 436b, passes in front. The cloud is created as of result of x-rays emitted from the red dwarf burning off GJ 436b’s upper atmosphere

Commenting on the visual depiction Dr Peter Wheatley, from the University of Warwick’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Group and one of the research’s co-authors, said that:

“What we can see is a large cloud of hydrogen gas absorbing the light from a red dwarf star as its exoplanet, GJ 436b, passes in front. The cloud is created as of result of x-rays emitted from the red dwarf burning off GJ 436b’s upper atmosphere.

“The cloud forms a comet-like tail as a result of ultraviolet light coming from the star pushing on the hydrogen and causing it to spiral outwards.

“Around 1000 metric tonnes of hydrogen are being burnt off from GJ 436b’s atmosphere every second; which equates to only 0.1% of its total mass every billion years. The same process is likely to be much stronger on other exoplanets, where the entire atmosphere could be removed or evaporated to destruction”.

Dr Wheatley led the x-ray observations used to trace the heating of the GJ 436b’s atmosphere.

• The research, A giant comet-like cloud of hydrogen escaping the warm Neptune mass exoplanet GJ 436b, is published by Nature.
• The research was led by Dr David Ehrenreich of Observatoire de l’Université de Genève.
• Picture free to use with credit to Mark Garlick/University of Warwick.

Contact Information
Tom Frew
International Press Officer
Phone: +44 24 765 75910

Tom Frew | newswise
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

nachricht Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch
20.10.2016 | The Optical Society

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>