Astronomers spot “Forbidden Planet” in Neptunian desert

The researchers believe that the planet may exist despite its location because it formed elsewhere and migrated into the Neptunian Desert zone!

Astronomers have used a desert-based observatory to identify an exoplanet that falls in the middle of what scientists had dubbed the Neptunian Desert.

That term refers to a phenomenon that astronomers had noticed by which there seemed to be an absence of Neptune-size planets that orbit their star in less than four days. The newly discovered planet is formally known as NGTS-4b but nicknamed “The Forbidden Planet” for its supposed implausibility.

“This planet must be tough — it is right in the zone where we expected Neptune-sized planets could not survive,” lead author Richard West, an astronomer at the University of Warwick in the U.K., said in a statement. “It is truly remarkable that we found a transiting planet via a star dimming by less than 0.2% — this has never been done before by telescopes on the ground.”

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