Astronomers are fascinated by a strange exoplanet known under the name of TOI-849b, which is located at a distance of more than 730 light-years away from Earth. The distant planet is up to forty times heavier in comparison to our own planet, and it is thought that it may be the core of a defunct giant planet or a giant planet whose growing process was halted.
It was spotted for the first time in 2018 with the help of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, which was designed from the ground up with the aim to track down and study exotic exoplanets that are located at a great distance.
While considerably heavier than Earth, TOI-849b has only half of the mass of Saturn, while the diameter is similar to that of Neptune. Current data infers that the density is similar to the one of Earth, which makes it the densest Neptun-like planet that has been observed.
A strange exoplanet amazes the astronomers
It is also interesting that the object has a short orbit that lasts for approximately eighteen hours and forty minutes. The orbit brings it incredibly close to its home star, at a distance equal to 1.5% of one astronomical unit, or the reference distance between Earth and the Sun(equivalent to 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers).
This position renders TOI-849b a part of the hot Neptunian desert class, which is encountered quite rarely. Older research infers that planets that have a mass that is up to 20 times than that of Earth should exert a strong gravitational pull that attracts new materials, facilitating growth and the transition towards a gas giant similar to Jupiter and Saturn.
Some scientists argue that the strange exoplanet may have lost most of its mass due to the close exposure to its star, but others say that this is not possible since it is to young, and it should have lost a limited amount of gas.