The fate of planets whose orbits collapse will be decided

WASP-12b was discovered by astronomers in 2008 as part of the SuperWASP survey as it passed in front of the star. At the time, the planet belonged to a new class of exoplanets (“hot Jupiters”) discovered about a decade before her. However, subsequent observations revealed that WASP-12b was the first observed hot Jupiter and that it was deformed because it orbited so closely around its parent star. Several plausible scenarios have been proposed to explain these observations, but the widely accepted theory is that the planet is being torn apart as it slowly falls into the star. Based on the observed rate of “tidal collapse,” astronomers estimate that WASP-12b will fall into its parent star in about 10 million years. In a recent study, astronomers from The Asiago Search for Transit Timing Variations of Exoplanets (TASTE) project present an analysis that combines new spectral data from the La Silla Observatory with previously unpublished transit light curves and 12 years of archival data. Did. Their results are consistent with previous observations showing that WASP-12b is rapidly tidally dissolved and engulfed by its star. Their findings were published in a paper titled “TASTE V. New ground-based study of the orbital collapse of ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-12b” and accepted by the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. Available on the arXiv preprint server. This paper was published by the TASTE project, a collaboration between astronomers and astrophysicists from the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), the “Giuseppe Colombo” University Center for Space Research Activities (CISAS), and several Italian universities. This is the fifth installment in the series announced. University and observatory. WASP-12b is one of many hot Jupiters discovered by Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP), an international consortium funded and run by the Universities of Warwick and Keele. WASP was his second after the Kepler mission in discovering exoplanets, and also relied on the transit method. It consists of monitoring periodic decreases in brightness in order to infer the presence of a planet and constrain its size and orbital period. Based on observations of its F type (yellow-white dwarf), the WASP study concluded that it is a gas giant planet with a mass 1.465 times that of Jupiter and an orbital period of 1.1 days. Dr. Pietro Leonardi The first author of this article was a student of Space Science and Technology at the University of Trento. As he told his Universe Today in an email, his discovery of Hot Jupiter (HJ) represented a major advance in exoplanet research. “The first discovery of an exoplanet around a Sun-like star by Mayor and Queros (1995) completely revolutionized our idea that planets should and can orbit stars. As humans, we often tend to imagine new concepts that are close to those we already understand. This cognitive bias also applies to scientists, who are, after all, ordinary humans. This applies to “Until 1995, it was widely believed that exoplanets orbiting stars outside our solar system were similar to planets in our own solar system. We know that large gaseous giants such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are found at considerable distances from their host stars, while smaller rocky planets such as Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars occupy their inner regions. I expected it. The discovery of a gas giant orbiting very close to its star has shattered those expectations and forced astronomers to rethink their theories about planet formation and evolution. For example, scientists have long believed that exoplanetary systems are likely similar to our solar system, and that the planets formed near our solar system’s orbit. In this scenario, rocky planets form close to the Sun, while gas giants form in the outer regions beyond the “frost line” (the boundary at which volatile elements (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen) begin to freeze). It is formed.

“This highlights the fact that our solar system does not represent a typical planetary system in the universe. Rather, it appears to be an outlier,” Leonardi said. However, unlike his other HJs, WASP-12b was the only one to exhibit orbital fluctuations. Several scenarios have been proposed for this, including the possibility that tidal collapse (a slow fall into the star) may have occurred. Leonardi explained: “WASP-12b is a very extreme planet. It actually belongs to a subcategory of so-called ultrahot Jupiters.” The planet is very close to its parent star, orbits in just 1.09 days, and has a surface temperature of 2600 K. Because it is so close to its parent star, the planet feels a strong gravitational pull, and part of its atmosphere is released from gravity. The metal forms a disk around the star. When WASP-12b’s orbit was first discovered to be altered, the Roemer effect and posterior body precession were investigated as further explanations. In the first scenario, the temporal variation was attributed to the star’s proximity to Earth in the line of sight. In the latter case, this was due to the gradual rotation of the planet’s orbit. For the study, Leonardi and his colleagues published a new analysis based on 28 unpublished transit light curves collected by the Asiago Observatory between 2010 and 2022. This was combined with all available archival data and updated high-resolution spectra acquired with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Search North (HARPS-N) instrument on ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory. Ta. These observations allowed the researchers to confirm that the planet’s orbit is in decline and that its star will engulf it sooner than expected, within 3 million years instead of 10 years. These results effectively settle the debate over the planet’s particular orbit and hint at future possibilities. Start studying. Leonardi said: “This study helps us approach the rare scenario of tidal force decay in orbit and provides a perfect laboratory to study star-planet interactions. This system Still needs to be clarified, for example to understand how this rapid tidal dissipation is possible. According to our theory, the tidal dissipation we observed should not be possible for stars that are still on the main sequence. However, precise stellar parameters obtained from the HARPS spectrum confirm that the star is still on the main sequence. ” Over the past three decades, the field of exoplanet research has experienced tremendous accelerated growth. With more than 5,000 confirmed exoplanets available for study, the field is now moving from discovery to characterization. The more we learn about worlds outside our solar system, the more we can draw conclusions about the nature of the planets in the universe and their formation and evolution. One day, this may lead to a new understanding of the nature of life itself and the conditions under which it occurs.