Mysterious ‘swollen’ planet can finally be explained by James Webb Space Telescope

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A surprisingly low methane reservoir could explain how a planet around a nearby star became strangely puffy, according to new observations from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The finding shows that planetary atmospheres can inflate to remarkable amounts without resorting to esoteric theories of planet formation, astronomers say.

“The Webb data tells us that planets like WASP-107 b didn’t have to form in a strange way with a super small core and a huge gaseous envelope,” said Michael Line, an extrasolar planetologist at Arizona State University, in a declaration. . “Instead, we can take something that looks more like Neptune, with a lot of rock and not as much gas, just increase the temperature and raise it to look like this.”

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