Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have published a new research paper, which confirms the existence of three new planets in a class called, ‘super-puffs’. All of the planets have a very low mass to volume ratio. Which means they have extremely low density and act as celestial equivalents of cotton candy.
All of the three planets were spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, orbiting Kepler 51, which is a young solar-type star. All of these planets are heavier than Earth, however, have a much larger radius, due to which their density is extremely low.
The discovery will soon be published in The Astronomical Journal, with the title “The Featureless Transmission Spectra of Two Super-Puff Planets”. Scientists have named these three new super-puff planets as Kepler-51b, Kepler-51c and Kepler-51d.
In the research paper, it is mentioned that all of these super-puffs have a density lower than 0.1 grams per cubic centimetre. Due to which these are the lowest-density planets to date according to the NASA Exoplanet Archive.
It is being said that these planets are mostly composed of hydrogen and helium covered by a thick haze of methane. Kepler-51b and Kepler 51d are exhaling gas at a rapid pace releasing billions of tons of gasses into space every second. Due to which they will shrink over time and might eventually lose their puffiness.
The Kepler 51 star system is about 2,400 lightyears away from Earth.
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