News from the Chair

Research Assistant Professor Diana Dragomir discovers new exoplanet with an atmosphere ripe for study

Created visual of an exoplanet
An artist's rendering of TOI-1231 b, a Neptune-like planet about 90 light years away from Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Diana Dragomir
Diana Dragomir

Orbiting a red dwarf in our galactic neighborhood, the small and cool exoplanet TOI-1231 b could offer astronomers a unique target for investigations of alien worlds.

An international team of astronomers, including Assistant Professor Diana Dragomir and researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), have discovered a remarkable world in orbit around a relatively nearby small red dwarf star: NLTT 24399.

The exoplanet is a roughly Neptune-sized planet that has been determined as having a cool atmosphere, which completes an orbit of its parent star in just 24 days.

"Even though TOI 1231b is eight times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, its temperature is similar to that of Earth, thanks to its cooler and less bright host star. However, the planet itself is actually larger than earth and a little bit smaller than Neptune -- We could call it a sub-Neptune", said Dragomir.

Read more about this exciting discovery in the UNM Newsroom article and the article in AZO Quantum.

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