This graphic plots exoplanets (dots) based on their size and distance from their star. Planets the size of Jupiter and super-Earths are found both close to and far from their star. Planets the size of Neptune are scarce close to their star (Neptune desert). Image: NASA, ESA and A. Feild (STScI)
A fast evaporating exoplanet found - space short science news
Astronomers have been puzzled for a long time by the near-absence of big, Neptune-sized gas planets in the proximity of their star.

New observations with the Hubble Space Telescope have indicated that the hot Neptune-like exoplanet GJ 3470b, that resides at the border of the empty zone, is fast losing its atmosphere. Thus hot Neptunes closer to the star might have lost their atmosphere as well, and could have eroded down to smaller, rocky super Earths that are found close to the star.

These observations give more insight into planetary evolution.

Read the full story: NASA and University of Geneva
Scientific publication: Astronomy and Astrophysics