December 9, 2021
This exoplanet is one of the most extreme gas giant planets of all time.

This exoplanet is one of the most extreme gas giant planets of all time.

Collaborative work between members telescópio espacial Transit Exoplanet Surplet (TESS) exoplanet survey satellite And researchers from several countries, led by Ian Wong of NASA, have resulted in the discovery of an exoplanet considered one of the most “super-hot Jupiters” ever identified.

TOI-2109b is five times the mass of Jupiter and takes just 16 hours to travel around its star, making its orbit the shortest among the gas giants ever identified. The article containing the study’s findings was published in The Astronomical Journal.

Since its orbit is short and very close to the star, temperatures on the planet’s diurnal side can reach 3,500 K, nearly 6000 degrees Celsius. As a result, this exoplanet can be as hot as its star, which is also the second hottest planet discovered to date. In addition, astronomers also consider TOI-2109b to be in the “orbital decay” phase, that is, it is located in a spiral path toward the star.

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Representation of an exoplanet (Image: cloning/NASA, ESA and J. Bacon)

Due to its orbit, it can follow this spiral faster than Other hot Jupiters The researchers believe this is happening at a rate of 10 to 750 milliseconds per year, faster than any other hot planet ever observed. The star is about 50% larger than the Sun in terms of size and mass, and the planet appears to be five times larger than Jupiter and about 2.4 million km away from it.

What can this outer planet teach us

Today, the list of exoplanets orbiting other stars already includes more than 4,000 distant planets of various types, such as superterrasAnd mininetums and huge gas giants. The exoplanet in question is considered “hot Jupiter”, that is, it is a large, massive ball of gas, which is similar in size to our neighbors in the solar system. On the other hand, these exoplanets orbit their stars in less than 10 days, while Jupiter takes 12 years to do so.

TOI-2109b was first discovered by TESS, which began observing the star TOI-2109 in 2013. About a month later, the telescope began collecting measurements of the star’s light, which scientists analyzed for traffic lights – these are small cuts in the star’s light It can occur due to the passage of an object in front of the star, such as a planet. In the end, the TESS data showed that, in fact, the star had an object that passed through it every 16 hours.

TESS space telescope concept (Image: Reproduction/NASA)

After notifying the astronomical community and making follow-up observations on other frequencies, the astronomers confirmed that the object was a planet. “Everything corresponds to a planet and we realized we had something very interesting and relatively rare,” said study co-author Avi Shporer. In the future, the authors hope to observe the planet with more powerful instruments, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and even James Webb, which is scheduled to launch in December.

Since the beginning of exoplanet science, Sppurer explains, hot Jupiters have been considered “alien.” “How does a massive and massive planet like Jupiter reach an orbit no more than a few days in length? We don’t have anything like that in our solar system, and we see it as an opportunity to study it and help explain its existence,” he said. Thus, future observations may also help clarify the conditions under which these planets are exposed as they move toward their stars.

Source: Astronomical Journal; via: Massachusetts Institute of Technology