Astronomers Spot Giant Exoplanet Losing Its Atmosphere In A Comet-Like Tail

Alexandra Lozovschi

Artist’s rendition of exoplanet WASP-69b losing its atmosphere in a comet-like tail.

Astronomers studying a famous exoplanet that goes by the name of WASP-69b have stumbled upon a peculiar find. It seems that the massive exoplanet, a gas giant first sighted in 2014, is sporting a comet-like tail composed of helium particles that originated in its own atmosphere, reports Phys.org.

This puzzling discovery was made by scientists from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in the Canary Islands, Spain, who scoped out the planet’s atmosphere with the help of the 3.5-meter telescope stationed at the Calar Alto Observatory in Almeria.

The scientists used the telescope’s CARMENES instrument to take a good look at WASP-69b and found out that the exoplanet is losing helium gas, which is agitated by the radiation coming from its parent star and breaking through the planet’s gravitational field.

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