Abundant 'Mini-Neptunes' Form New Class of Alien Planets

Jan 6, 2014 Full story: Live Science

There's a new kind of planet to add to Kepler's cornucopia of alien worlds, and you won't find it in Earth's own solar system.

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“Geologist [I'm Climate Change]”

Since: Mar 07


#1 Jan 8, 2014
The mini Neptune class will vary considerably according to the metallicity of the system. Most of the newly condensed systems in our vicinity are a mite more metal rich than the sun. The resulting gas giants from direct condensation will be denser than ours (resembling Neptune).

This should also have a direct bearing on the minimum mass required to make a classical gas giant planet rather than an ice dwarf such as Triton (a captured KBO) or Callisto (a dusty snowball). The bit just @ the point of minimum mass will still have some ice dwarf characteristics and have an atmosphere shell over the ice core (like a bigger version of Titan).

Most of the Kepler results indicate that the bulk of the close (rapid) transit planets with mass results in due to short orbit period, formed as a condensation in a disc falling into the central star (with them migrating inward as they grew). The condensations therefore should grow as gas giants in the disc (with a dust & snow core) with inward migration arrested when the star switched on & the outer disc blew away.

Rocky super earths should be rather rarer beasties, but in that case the bulk will be an interior dust belt condensation stabilised by an outer gas giant. With the solar system (2 big gas giants) there are effectively 2 earths in the tidal resonance capture bins; Venus (inner) Earth (outer).

Have a nice day: Ag

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