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Sub-Neptune Planets

4th December, 2023 Geography

Sub-Neptune Planets

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  • Astronomers recently discovered six sub-Neptune planets orbiting a faraway star in a remarkable coordinated dance.

About Sub Neptune Planets

  • These are the most prevalent types of planets found in our galaxy.
  • They could be rocky worlds with thick atmospheres of hydrogen and helium gas, or rock and ice worlds with warm, water-rich atmospheres.
  • These planets have radii that fall between Earth and Neptune.

Key Findings

  • The star, known as HD110067, is around 100 light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices and is roughly 20% less massive than our Sun.
  • The six planets were discovered by detecting minute dimmings in the brightness of the star when each planet transited, or passed in front of, the star from Earth's perspective.
  • These planets' orbital resonance, or synchronization, is such that their orbits have stayed steady for approximately 4 billion years.
  • The newly discovered sub-Neptunes range from 9 to 2.9 times Earth's diameter and all seem to have substantial atmospheres.
  • While none of the six planets lie within the traditional habitable zone—the region around a star where conditions might be right for liquid water and potentially life.
  • They do possess atmospheres that could modify their surface temperatures, expanding the potentially habitable zone for such planets.

What are Exoplanets?

  1. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than our sun and are outside of our solar system.
  2. The first confirmation of exoplanet identification occurred in
  3. According to NASA, approximately 5,000 exoplanets have been identified to date.
  4. According to scientists, there are more planets than stars since each star has at least one planet surrounding it.
  5. Exoplanets exist in a variety of sizes. They can be as large as Jupiter's gas giants or as small and rocky as Earth.
  6. They are also known to have a range of temperatures ranging from blazing hot to cold.

Discovery of Exoplanets

  • Exoplanets are extremely difficult to observe directly using telescopes.
  • The dazzling glare of the stars they orbit obscures them.
  • As a result, astronomers hunt for and study exoplanets in different ways, such as observing the effects these planets have on the stars they circle.
  • Scientists rely on indirect methods like the transit method, which analyses the dimming of a star when a planet passes in front of it.
  • Other detection methods include gravitational microlensing, which involves bending and focusing light from a distant star as a planet passes between the star and Earth.
  • Ae similar technology might theoretically be used to detect exoplanets around our Sun.


  • Exoplanet research not only broadens our study of other solar systems but also assists us in piecing together information about our planetary system and its genesis.
  • The most compelling reason to learn about them, however, is to find an answer to one of humanity's most deep and thought-provoking questions: are we alone in this universe?
  • Another critical aspect of the research is determining the distance between an exoplanet and its host star.
  • This assists scientists in determining whether or not a discovered world is habitable.
  • When an exoplanet gets too close to a star, it may become too hot to support liquid water. If it is too far away, it may just have frozen water.

A large exoplanet orbits a very low-mass star

  • The discovery of a Neptune­mass exoplanet orbiting the very low­mass M dwarf star LHS 3154 puts theoretical ideas of planet formation to the test.
  • The planet, which has at least 13 times the mass of Earth, orbits a star nine times less massive than the Sun, proving that tiny stars can sometimes host larger planets than previously assumed.
  • Although huge planet candidates have been discovered in the vicinity of a few relatively low­mass dwarfs.

Facts About Neptune

  • It is the last planet in our solar system.
  • It is more than 30 times further away from the sun than Earth.
  • Neptune and Uranus are quite similar.
  • It consists of a dense fog of water, ammonia, and methane enveloping an earth-sized solid core.
  • It has a hydrogen, helium, and methane
  • Surface and Structure
  • Neptune is an ice behemoth with six rings encircling him.
  • It consists of a viscous soup of water, ammonia, and methane flowing over a solid core the size of Earth.
  • It features a dense and windy atmosphere.
  • Time on Neptune
  • On Neptune, a day lasts 16 hours.
  • Neptune travels so far around the sun that it takes 165 Earth years to complete one orbit.


Discuss the significance of the discovery of exoplanets in the context of our understanding of the universe and its implications for the search for extraterrestrial life.