Gliese 436 b
Gliese 436 b // (sometimes called GJ 436 b) is a Neptune-sized exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf Gliese 436. It was the first hot Neptune discovered with certainty (in 2007) and was among the smallest-known transiting planets in mass and radius, until the much smaller Kepler exoplanet discoveries started coming in by 2010.
|Exoplanet||List of exoplanets|
Size comparison of Gliese 436 b with Neptune
|Right ascension||(α)||11h 42m 11.0932s|
|Declination||(δ)||+26° 42′ 23.653″|
|Spectral type||M2.5 V|
|Mass||(m)||0.41 ± 0.05 M☉|
|Semi-major axis||(a)||±0.010.028 AU|
|Orbital period||(P)||2.643904±0.000005 d|
|Time of periastron||(T0)||451552.0772 JD|
|Stellar flux||(F⊙)||29.5 ⊕|
|Density||(ρ)||1.51 g cm−3|
|Surface gravity||(g)||1.18 g|
|Discovery date||August 31, 2004|
Marcy et al.
|Discovery method||Radial velocity, Transit|
|Discovery site||California, USA|
|Open Exoplanet Catalogue||data|
Gliese 436 b was discovered in August 2004 by R. Paul Butler and Geoffrey Marcy of the Carnegie Institute of Washington and University of California, Berkeley, respectively, using the radial velocity method. Together with 55 Cancri e, it was the first of a new class of planets with a minimum mass (M sini) similar to Neptune.
The planet was recorded to transit its star by an automatic process at NMSU on January 11, 2005, but this event went unheeded at the time. In 2007, Gillon led a team that observed the transit, grazing the stellar disc relative to Earth. Transit observations led to the determination of its exact mass and radius, both of which are very similar to that of Neptune, making Gliese 436 b at that time the smallest known transiting extrasolar planet. The planet is about four thousand kilometers larger in diameter than Uranus and five thousand kilometers larger than Neptune and slightly more massive. Gliese 436b orbits at a distance of four million kilometers or one-fifteenth the average distance of Mercury from the Sun.
The planet's surface temperature is estimated from measurements taken as it passes behind the star to be 712 K (439 °C; 822 °F). This temperature is significantly higher than would be expected if the planet were only heated by radiation from its star, which was prior to this measurement, estimated at 520 K. Whatever energy tidal effects deliver to the planet, it does not affect its temperature significantly. A greenhouse effect could raise the temperature to much higher degrees than the predicted 520–620 K.
Its main constituent was initially predicted to be hot "ice" in various exotic high-pressure forms, which would remain solid despite the high temperatures, because of the planet's gravity. The planet could have formed further from its current position, as a gas giant, and migrated inwards with the other gas giants. As it arrived in range, the star would have blown off the planet's hydrogen layer via coronal mass ejection.
However, when the radius became better known, ice alone was not enough to account for it. An outer layer of hydrogen and helium up to ten percent in mass would be needed on top of the ice to account for the observed planetary radius. This obviates the need for an ice core. Alternatively, the planet may be a super-earth.
Observations of the planet's brightness temperature with the Spitzer Space Telescope suggest a possible thermochemical disequilibrium in the atmosphere of this exoplanet. Results published in Nature suggest that Gliese 436b's dayside atmosphere is abundant in CO and deficient in methane (CH4) by a factor of ~7,000. This result is unexpected because, based on current models at this temperature, the atmospheric carbon should prefer CH4 over CO.
In June 2015, scientists reported that the atmosphere of Gliese 436 b was evaporating, resulting in a giant cloud around the planet and, due to radiation from the host star, a long trailing tail 14×106 km (9×106 mi) long.
One orbit around the star takes only about two days, 15.5 hours. Gliese 436 b's orbit is likely misaligned with its star's rotation. The eccentricity of Gliese 436 b's orbit is inconsistent with models of planetary system evolution. To have maintained its eccentricity over time requires that it be accompanied by another planet.
A study published in Nature found that the orbit of Gliese 436 b is nearly perpendicular to the stellar equator of Gliese 436 and suggests that the eccentricity and misalignment of the orbit could have resulted from interactions with a yet undetected companion. The inward migration caused by this interaction could have triggered the atmospheric escape that sustains its giant exosphere.
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- GJ436b - Where's the methane? Archived 2010-05-14 at the Wayback Machine. Planetary Sciences Group at the University of Central Florida, Orlando
- Knutson, Heather A. (2011). "A Spitzer Transmission Spectrum for the Exoplanet GJ 436b". Astrophysical Journal. 735, 27: 27. arXiv:1104.2901. Bibcode:2011ApJ...735...27K. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/735/1/27.
- LINE, Michael R.; VASISHT, Gautam; CHEN, Pin; ANGERHAUSEN, D.; YANG, Yuk L. (2011). "Thermochemical and Photochemical Kinetics in Cooler Hydrogen Dominated Extrasolar Planets". Astrophysical Journal. 738, 32: 32. arXiv:1104.3183. Bibcode:2011ApJ...738...32L. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/738/1/32., abstract in the arXiv titled "Thermochemistry and Photochemistry in Cooler Hydrogen Dominated Extrasolar Planets: The Case of GJ436b"
- D. Ehrenreich; V. Bourrier; P. Wheatley; A. Lecavelier des Etangs; G. Hébrard; S. Udry; X. Bonfils; X. Delfosse; J.-M. Désert; D. K. Sing; A. Vidal-Madjar (25 June 2015). "A Giant Comet-like Cloud of Hydrogen Escaping from the warm Neptune-mass Exoplanet GJ 436b". Nature. 522: 459–461. arXiv:1506.07541. Bibcode:2015Natur.522..459E. doi:10.1038/nature14501. PMID 26108854.
- Bhanoo, Sindya N. (25 June 2015). "A Planet with a Tail Nine Million Miles Long". New York Times. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Hubble sees atmosphere being stripped from Neptune-sized exoplanet". Retrieved 25 June 2015.
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- Bourrier, Vincent; et al. (2018). "Orbital misalignment of the Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b with the spin of its cool star". Nature. 553 (7689): 477–480. arXiv:1712.06638. Bibcode:2018Natur.553..477B. doi:10.1038/nature24677.
Selected media articlesEdit
|Wikinews has related news: Recently discovered planet may contain 'hot ice'|
- How Do Artists Portray Exoplanets They've Never Seen? 4/9, Scientific American October 2, 2007.
- Astronomers Detect Shadow Of Water World In Front Of Nearby Star (from Science Daily).
Media related to Gliese 436 b at Wikimedia Commons