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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