According to astronomers, TOI-332 b lies within the so-called ‘Neptunian Desert’, a region of space where planets have rarely been found.
A group of astronomers, led by Ares Osborn, from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), has discovered a new exoplanet from the Neptune sizecalled TOI-332 b.
Is about one of the densest exoplanets known to date, with a radius about 3.2 Earth radii and an unusually large mass of 57.2 land masses, specify the authors of the study published last week. Their discovery was made possible by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
The celestial body orbits a K dwarf star called TOI-332 every 18.65 hours, at a distance of 0.016 AU (astronomical unit), or about 2.4 million kilometers. Scientists have calculated that the equilibrium temperature of the planet is of approximately 1,598 °C.
Based on the results, TOI-332 b was classified as an ultrashort period exoplanet. According to experts, it is located within the so-called ‘Neptunian Desert’a region of space where planets have rarely been found.
Additionally, the researchers noted that the interior structure of TOI-332 b is most likely dominated by refractory materials, potentially more similar to those of terrestrial planets.
At the same time, the celestial body could possess a negligible hydrogen-helium envelope, posing a challenge to theories of planetary formation.
“This unusual planet challenges what we currently understand about planet formation. How such a giant core exists without a gaseous envelope remains an unanswered question,” the study authors wrote.