A hot Neptune is an extrasolar planet in an orbit close to its star (normally less than one astronomical unit away), with a mass similar to that of Uranus or Neptune. Recent observations have revealed a larger potential population of hot Neptunes than previously thought. The first hot Neptune discovered was Mu Arae c (or HD 160691 c).
Hot Neptunes have some common characteristics:
- They have a much greater chance of transiting their star as seen from a farther outlying point than planets of the same mass in larger orbits. The most notable of these are Gliese 436 b, the first transiting hot Neptune found, and HAT-P-11b, which was recently observed by the Kepler mission.
The first theoretical study showing how this type of exoplanet could be formed was carried out in the doctoral thesis of Gustavo Rodolfo Cionco and was published in Icarus (Brunini & Cionco, 2004).
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