JUL 19, 2017 5:33 AM PDT

Joint Collaboration Reveals the Presence of a Hot Jupiter-Like Exoplanet for the First Time

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It's not uncommon for astronomers to come across hot Jupiter-like exoplanets while surveying other star systems throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Most of these are discovered by a single exoplanet search group at a time, but the discovery of a hot Jupiter-like exoplanet made by Keele University researchers is shaking things up a bit.

Back in 2006 and 2013, both the Wide-Angle Search for Planets (WASP) and the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) studied a distant star dubbed WASP-167b/KELT-13 with both the WASP-South telescope and KELT-South telescope at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO).

Another observation of the same star in 2016 by the European South Observatory (ESO) confirmed the presence of an exoplanet orbiting the host star. Both giant and gassy, the exoplanet resembled a body found right here in our solar system: Jupiter. Despite the similarities, however, some important details set it apart from our familiar neighbor.

An artist's impression of WASP-167b/KELT-13b next to Jupiter.

Image Credit: Keele University

Related: Water detected on a nearby hot Jupiter-like exoplanet

The observation marked the first discovery of a hot Jupiter-like exoplanet that resulted from a collaboration between two exoplanet search groups. The findings are published in a paper available on the arXiv.org server.

“Planet-search teams are only just beginning to find hot-Jupiter planets with hot, fast-rotating host stars. This is only the second of what I hope will be many WASP planets that fall into this category. Already we are seeing characteristic properties that contrast those we’ve seen before, and I’m looking forward to filling in this emerging big picture with more new discoveries,” said Keele University astrophysics researcher Lorna Temple, the lead author of the paper.

“This is the first planet discovery where two teams have collaborated, pooling all of the data to produce the best possible characterization of the system.”

Related: This hot Jupiter-like exoplanet has clouds of swirling gem minerals

The exoplanet was dubbed WASP-167b/KELT-13b in honor of both exoplanet search groups. It’s significantly larger than Jupiter is, and it completes a full orbit around its host star in just 2.02 Earth days.

The researchers also note how the host star exhibits stellar pulsations, which are essentially expansions and contractions of the star’s outer layers. It's believed that the exoplanet's proximity to WASP-167b/KELT-13 causes these stellar pulsations.

With additional observations, we may be able to learn a bit more about this hot Jupiter-like exoplanet and the system in which it resides.

Source: Keele University

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.
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