A new gas giant has the shortest known orbit. Someday, the dance may come to an abrupt end because the world takes just 16 hours to circle its star.
Scientists call the exoplanet "hot Jupiters." Our solar system's giant is built more or less like these worlds, but they are much closer to their stars. The new discovery, which is called TOI-2109b, is one of the most unique hot Jupiters to date.
"We realized we had something very interesting and relatively rare when we realized everything was consistent with it being a planet," said Shporer, an exoplanet scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Shporer and his colleagues made a discovery in the data gathered by the TESS.
TESS is able to find planets that are very fast because the telescope stares at one patch of the sky for a month before moving on. TESS watches for small dips in the star's brightness that indicate a planet coming between the telescope and the star.
According to the statement, the dips came every 16 hours in the case of TOI-2109b. The star of the planet is located in the constellation Hercules, which is 855 light-years away from Earth. The researchers recruited other telescopes to check out the star after they spotted the signal. "TESS object of interest" is what TOI stands for.
Scientists were able to measure a few of the key characteristics of TOI-2109b after the combined observations. It's about 1.5 million miles away from its star. Mercury is 24 times farther away from our sun.
That's pretty weird. "From the beginning of exoplanetary science, hot Jupiters have been seen as weird," Shporer said. How does a planet of Jupiter's size get to an around-the-world location in a few days? We don't have anything like this in our solar system, and we see this as an opportunity to study them and explain their existence.
The star is five times larger than our own Jupiter, and it is twice the size of our sun. The dayside temperatures on the new planet are close to 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,300 degrees Celsius), making it the second-hottest known exoplanet. The moon always shows its side to Earth, but close-orbiting alien worlds are often locked up, showing the same face to their host star.
That is interesting as well. Is the temperature very cold or does the planet take heat on the day side and transfer it to the night side? Shporer said something. We are at the beginning of trying to answer this question.
The planet appears to be moving closer to its star at a rate of between 10 and 750 milliseconds per year, making it the most intriguing characteristic of TOI-2109b.
Scientists hope that they could watch the planet's fate, but it's not fast enough. TESS is still working and will check in on TOI-2109 in May and June of 2022, and scientists hope that will allow them to study the orbital decay phenomenon in more detail.
Ian Wong, the lead author of the research who was a post-doc at MIT during the study and is now at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said that in one or two years, they may be able to detect how the planet moves closer to its star.
He said that the planet would not fall into its star in his lifetime. Give it another 10 million years, and this planet might not be there.
A draft of the paper can be found on the pre-print server arXiv.org.
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