Astronomers have uncovered evidence of how the enigmatic gap in the size distribution of exoplanets at around two Earth radii emerges. Their computer simulations demonstrate that the migration of icy, so-called sub-Neptunes into the inner regions of their planetary systems could account for this phenomenon. As they draw closer to the central star, evaporating water ice forms an atmosphere that makes the planets appear larger than in their frozen state. Simultaneously, smaller rocky planets gradually lose a portion of their original gaseous envelope, causing their measured radius to shrink over time.
Mysterious gap in size distribution of super-earths explained
- 9. 2 2024 (19:41)