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A bizarre exoplanet lets astronomers reconsider how solar systems form



Astronomers have discovered a strange exoplanet that orbits a solar system that is beyond our solar system. The exoplanet HR 5183 b, a gas giant three times as large as Jupiter, spins on a wide, egg-shaped path around its parent star, moving away from its sun and moving from its sun. By comparison, if HR 5183b were in our solar system, its orbit would take it from the asteroid belt to the orbit of Neptune, the most remote planet in our Sun.

The planet is especially unique, considering what we know about solar systems. Conventional findings and observational results indicate that near-circular orbits taken by the planets in our solar system (including the earth) are the most stable in the long run and are therefore most commonly observed in mature solar systems. If planets oscillated wildly in their orbits, similar to HR 51

83 b, collisions would be frequent; It is unclear whether other planets orbit the parent star HR 5183.

The planets of the sun – and the protoplanets that preceded them – may have had much more chaotic, elliptical orbits in the early solar system's days. That is, more than 4 billion years ago, the earth was hit by a body of Mars called Theia. Due to the currently stable orbits of bodies of the solar system such massive collisions (luckily) are no longer possible.

These results will be published shortly in a study in the Astronomical Journal. Other giant planets with spin-like orbits were found around other stars in different solar systems, but none of these worlds were on the outer edges of their star systems like these.

"This planet is different than the planets in our solar system, but more than that, it's unlike any other exoplanet we've ever discovered," said Sarah Blunt, lead author of the study, released shortly, in a media statement. "Other planets discovered far from their stars tend to have very low eccentricities, which means their orbits are more circular."

Because this planet is so unique, Blunt added, "this makes a difference in the way it either forms or develops relative to the other planets."

Co-author Michael Endl of the McDonald Observatory agreed.

"This new exoplanet is in many ways extreme and over-interesting," he said in a statement for a record-long orbital period of over 50 years, much longer than other planets captured using this technique. And he circles his host star on a very elongated, egg-shaped orbit.

Researchers discovered the exoplanet using the Radial Speed ​​Method, a discovery method that identifies new worlds by tracking how their parent stars "wiggle" gravity tugs from these planets in response. Endl said, "Something dramatic must have happened to change the shape of his orbit."

Since the 1990s, astronomers have been observing HR 5183, the planet's parent star. About every 45 to 100 years, the planet orbits its star. HR 5183 b spends most of its time in the outer part of its stellar planetary system, then accelerates and flings around its star, consistent with Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

"For nearly 20 years our data showed no signs of a planetary companion," Endl said, "and then we observed the slingshot, which lasted only about two years."

It's strange to imagine a massive planet Asking about how this solar system might possibly look like, Avi Loeb, chairman of the Harvard Astronomy Department, emailed Salon: "Around a planet from an initial circular orbit To bring such a long orbit, he must cross the orbit of another giant planet or a passing star. "

Loeb said that the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn are not close enough to give Saturn a gravity kick."

"Gravity during the encounter of the two planets must exceed the force that keeps the trodden planet in a circular orbit around the sun t, "said Loeb. "Since the sun is a thousand times as massive as Jupiter, the annoying planet has to come very close to the trodden planet."

He added, "If a passing star gives the jolt, the passage could be at a similar distance separating the kicked planet from its host star."

Endl said we normally think that the planet is circular Trajectories, but a "close encounter with another massive planet may have thrown this planet on its long path around the star."

Researchers said this planet affirms how little we know about planets outside our solar system: before 1995, The year the first exoplanet was discovered, we did not even know if there were planets in other solar systems, and nearly two decades later 4,000 exoplanets were discovered.

"To understand the planetary systems in our galaxy, examples of the Full range of possible systems can be found and investigated, "said Phillip MacQueen, technology leader and Beobac The M Donald Observatory Planet Search said in a statement. "While spacecraft have found thousands of systems, it's unlikely that a system like HR 5183 will be found on previous or present spacecraft."


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