back to article Neptune-sized oddball baffles astroboffins: It has a good atmosphere despite star-lashing

Astrophysicists have discovered a rogue exoplanet that has managed to cling onto its atmosphere despite lying fatally close to its parent star, defying all expectations. NGTS-4b, nicknamed The Forbidden Planet, is a little smaller than Neptune, has twenty times the mass as Earth, and is located about 922 light years away. It’s …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Not as hot as Crematoria that Riddick escaped from.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Also not as hot as some of the roastings the critics have given the Riddick Chronicles over the years.

  2. Efer Brick

    Almost as nice as


    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Almost as nice as's so bracing!

  3. hplasm Silver badge

    May I suggest the name-


    As any inhabitants will be right tough nasty bastards.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: May I suggest the name-

      Lensman reference. Excellent!

      Although I seem to remember Eddore to be a cold and frigid planet.

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: May I suggest the name-

        True -'Frigid Blooded Poison Breathers - ZZZZZZ ' If I remember correctly.

        These are the African, rather than European Eddorians, I think...

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Re: May I suggest the name-

          "These are the African, rather than European Eddorians, I think..."

          I find that hard to swallow

          1. Kane Silver badge

            Re: May I suggest the name-

            "I find that hard to swallow"

            Is that an unladen swallow?

        2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

          Re: May I suggest the name-

          "These are the African, rather than European Eddorians, I think..."

          Well, you have to know these things when you're a king, you know.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: May I suggest the name-

            Any coconuts detected?

  4. redpawn Silver badge

    Weight loss plan

    Spend a few million years in this sauna and even a Jupiter sized planet can slim down to Neptune size and reduce the crushing effects of too much atmosphere. Slim down then pall around with Uranus class planets in style. Just remember not to lose too much weight as this plan is "Guaranteed to work or we'll give you your satellites back" .

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Weight loss plan

      Was thinking the same thing. Could have been Jupiter sized and been there a very long time so lost almost all its atmosphere. Thus maybe what we're seeing now is the dying remant of something that started out way more massive.

  5. tony2heads

    I wonder what the atmosphere is

    maybe sodium and magnesium?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder what the atmosphere is

      If they can see there is an atmosphere then they can tell from absorbtion lines what the atmosphere is. Could be worth hunting down the original paper.

      As for why its still there I'm wondering whether its proximity to its star and the fact it is a gas giant could lead to a very powerful magnetic field being sustained thus protecting it from flares and the high gravity doing the rest!

      1. Annihilator

        Re: I wonder what the atmosphere is

        Magnetic field was my first guess too. The difference between Earth and Mars.

  6. adam 40 Bronze badge

    Never mind the Neptunian desert

    Paranal should be looking at Uranus...

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: Never mind the Neptunian desert

      Are you sure? They've been known to cock things up.

  7. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    Could anything survive?

    1000C is a bit hot, but its possible other non-carbon biochemistries ie using liquid heavy metals might be viable.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Could anything survive?

      The first heavy metal that comes to mind vaporises at a much lower temperature (mercury).

    2. Andrew Rouen

      Re: Could anything survive?

      It is also LESS dense than Earth.

      Earth/Forbidden Planet (Kg/m3): 5514/3450

      That might suggest a super heavy core with a "pumice like" mantle

  8. Horridbloke

    Oh what an atmosphere

    I love a planet with a happy atmosphere.

    1. Sam Therapy

      Re: Oh what an atmosphere

      Leave Russ Abbot out of this.

  9. PacketPusher


    The home of the Horta of Star Trek fame?

    1. dr john

      Re: Horta

      The only problem for silicon based lifeforms like Horta is that silicon doesn't form long chains of silicon atoms, so a similar chemistry to carbon lifeforms isn't possible, although perhaps she was made from silicates which are long chains of linked SiO4 groups

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kinda curious

    about how we know anything about its atmosphere when the only way we can even detect its presence is via the transit method. I guess I'll have to study up unless some kind pedant has a nutshell explanation handy.

    1. mdufrenoy

      Re: Kinda curious

      As the planet orbits and is about to pass behind the sun, or as it comes from behind, the sun's light bounces off the planet's atmosphere and its spectrum can be observed (though added to the sun's own spectrum from this distance). It may also be possible to observe the spectrum while the planet is in front of the star (the light passing through the atmosphere around the planet where not blocked otherwise by the planet), but don't quote me.

      Science has improved on Galileo's telescope.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lee marvin

    singing "I ...was born under a wnadering star ..." you can hear it now

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