AUG 06, 2016 11:53 AM PDT

Warm Jupiter-like Exoplanets May Not Be As Lonely As Once Thought

The Kepler mission has been going Rambo in discovering new exoplanets in other systems across the Milky Way galaxy. In the last decade alone, 2000 or more exoplanets have been confirmed, while a total of 5000 exoplanet candidates are sitting out there, just waiting to be confirmed.
 
Among some of the most interesting of exoplanet discoveries are Jupiter-like gas giants, which are gaining a lot of attention. Although Jupiter in our solar system is cold, many of the Jupiter-like exoplanets that are being discovered are warm, or even extremely hot due to their position near their host star.
 

An artist's impression of a warm Jupiter orbiting its host star with companion planets.

 Image Credit: Detlev Van Ravenswaay/Science Photo Library

It’s baffling astronomers because everything we find about warm Jupiter-like exoplanets seems to go against what we have long believed to be the norm thanks to Jupiter itself. After all, we’ve long believed that the colder regions of our solar system were perfect for gas planet formation, while the warmer regions of our solar system were perfect for solid planet formation.
 
Some of the warm or hot Jupiter-like exoplanets out there seem to orbit very close to their host star, and complete orbits in as quickly as 10-200 days. Jupiter from our own solar system, on the other hand, is very distant from the Sun and takes 4300 Earth days to orbit the Sun.
 
So what gives? How is it possible for gas planets to exist so closely to their host star in other solar systems if it isn’t possible in our own?
 
Because Jupiter is such an odd-ball, a cold gas giant far away from hits host star, and many of the giant gassy planets in other systems across the galaxy are warmer and significantly closer to their host stars, the findings have astronomers thinking hard about whether or not these gas giants slowly move inward or outward in their position relative to their host star.
 
On the other hand, more and more of those warm Jupiter-like exoplanets out there are being found to have companion planets that orbit the same star, and scientists are now suggesting that many of these warm Jupiters may have actually formed exactly where we have found them relative to their host star.
 
The findings, which have been published in the Astrophysical Journal are shaking up the warm Jupiter research field.
 
“Our findings suggest that a big fraction of warm Jupiters cannot have migrated to their current positions dynamically and that it would be a good idea to consider more seriously that they formed where we find them,” University of Toronto’s Chelsea Huang, lead author of the study, says.”
 
It’s possible that there’s still a lot more to learn about how gas planets form, and of course, every solar system is going to have different properties than our own due to the fact that the host stars are different sizes and different temperature, so there are a lot of factors to consider.

Some of them may have very well migrated to the point in their solar system where they're found, but a number of others may have actually formed where they have been discovered.
 
One thing that seems to be clear, however, is that most of the warm Jupiters we are finding probably have a companion planet or two, but because of how far away they are, it is often difficult to track down whether or not any companion planets exist in these alien systems.
 
Source: University of Toronto

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2019
Will Elon Musk's Space-bound Tesla Roadster Ever Return to Earth?
It was just over a year ago that SpaceX lofted Elon Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roadster with the ‘Starman’ dummy passenger into outer space...
OCT 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2019
Why Do Blue Supergiant Stars Twinkle?
One of the most captivating parts of astronomy is studying distant stars and comparing them to our own, which brings us to one of the most critical aspects...
OCT 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2019
Here's Why Stars Aren't Visible in Most Space Photos
When you look up at the night sky, you’ll often see a bevy of stars looking back down at you. But have you ever noticed that the vast majority of ima...
OCT 15, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 15, 2019
Mysterious Cosmic Radio Signal Pinpointed to its Source
Releasing the 80 years-worth entire solar energy in just a tiny fraction of a second, fast radio burst (FRB) is the one of most energetic and mysterious ph...
OCT 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2019
LightSail-2 Spacecraft Demonstrates Viability of Solar Sails
The future of space travel looks bright, especially considering the fact that future deep-space probes could utilize passive solar sails to get to their de...
OCT 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2019
SpaceX Will Need to Demonstrate a Dragon Capsule Abort for NASA
NASA’s Commercial Crew initiative enabled third-party contractors such as Boeing and SpaceX to develop platforms that may be used in future crewed mi...
Loading Comments...