In 1995, when Dr. Michel Major and Dr. Didier Keloz of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland announced their historic discovery of the very first evidence that a distant planet revolves around a very distant star similar to the Sun. – outside our solar system, many scientists knew about it. Embarrassed. These observations showed that in our solar system (the largest planet in the family of our Sun) there was a candidate extrasolar planet as massive as Jupiter, orbiting very close to its parent star – 51 Pegasus. The new planet, dubbed 51 Pegasi b, lived just 4,300,000 miles from its parent star, which is only part of the distance between our Sun and Mercury, the planet closest to our Sun. To explain the existence of this giant roasting machine, new theories have been hastily developed. One theory suggests that 51 Pegasi b actually formed at a distance from its parent star, similar to the average distance between Jupiter and our star, and then lost energy – spiraling inwards, perhaps to be finally absorbed by its ferocious parent star. In May 2013, astronomers published a new study using data from the highly successful but fateful Kepler Space Telescope, suggesting that so-called hot Jupiters such as 51 Pegasi b (despite their surrounding orbits) are not regularly devoured. their wonderful parents. Instead, these migratory planets remain in stable orbits for billions of years – until the inevitable happens and they finally sink into their stars!
51 Pegasi b is drawn around its parent star every 4.2 days. However, existing theories of planetary system formation indicate that giant planets like Jupiter can only occur at much greater distances from their parent star. What makes a huge 51 Peg b so close to its ardent guest star?
51 Peg is a “neighboring” star that is located at relatively minor distances 42 light-years from our solar system.
The news was both good and bad. The good news was that one of the most important questions in astronomy – really one of the most important questions for humanity as a whole – was finally answered: yes, planets like our own Sun and ours revolve around stars. The system is not unique in the cosmic scheme of things.
The bad news was that the good news was disconcerting in the astronomical community. How did this huge red-hot planet form so close to its fiercely blazing mother star? After all, 51 Peg b is probably cooking at temperatures over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s hot enough to glow red like a toaster.
Stunned scientists quickly developed new theories to explain the existence of this huge, red-hot hot world, which should not be where it was clearly. However, no one knew whether this strange planet was always so close to its star, and even what it consists of. Some theorists argue that the roster is, in fact, a huge ball of molten rock. Others speculated that the planet – like our own Jupiter – was originally a gas giant born about 100 times far from its star, and was ejected through the nearest thicket on 51 Peg with a second planet or an undiscovered sister star.
An alternative theory claimed that the burner was indeed born at the same distance from its star as Jupiter and our Sun, but that it slowly lost energy due to interaction with the disk of gas and dust from which it originated. Thus, the doomed planet-baby moved from a distant, safe and much cooler hometown to its hungry star-mother.
According to this rather gruesome scenario, 51 Peg b was just one of many doomed planets born in the outer regions of the disk. Most of the sister planets died in the star furnace 51 Peg. However, in the case of 51 Peg b, luck triumphed, and the burning planet escaped the terrible and blazing fate of her sisters.
The bizarre variety of planets
Our Milky Way galaxy is literally filled with a strange variety of planets. In addition to the eight main planets that inhabit our solar family – Mercury, Venus, our Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – it has been confirmed that more than 800 planets orbit other stars.
Hot Jupiters, also called rosters (for obvious reasons), are gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn, but they very closely embrace their stars, literally burning from the heat of their ruthless mother stars.
“Hot Jupiters are beasts to fight. They don’t quite fit our models and are more diverse than we thought. We’ve just started putting together pieces of the puzzle about what’s going on with these planets, and we still don’t know. What will be the last photo,” Dr. Nicole Lewis said in Astrobiology.net May 11, 2013. Dr. Lewis is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and lead author of a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. discuss the example of hot Jupiter: HAT-P-2b.
Hot Jupiters are highly likely to catch up with their stars, so they are relatively easy to detect using passing techniques and radial speed. 51 Peg b has indeed been spotted by astronomers using a radial speed technique that helps discover large planets in narrow orbits around their stars. This method measures the movement of a star to and from Earth when gravity reacts to one or more migratory planets. It was the very first successful method used by astronomers to locate extrasolar worlds, and this method has revealed more than 400 confirmed extrasolar planets. The transit method used by Kepler’s ill-fated mission and other space and ground-based telescopes has discovered about 270 alien worlds, discovering them when they travel or pass through the flaming faces of their stars. Kepler was launched in 2009, and its main purpose was to capture small Earth-sized worlds passing in front of its stars. Unfortunately, it stopped working in May 2013, but still left a lot of data that astronomers could study for years to come.