The giant planet fell into a death spiral. It is gradually approaching the star, in which it is located. So her death is only a matter of time.
A new study showed that the days of the giant planet are numbered. She entered the death spiral more than two billion years ago. Perhaps only a few hundred thousand years remain before it is torn apart.
Researchers say that the hot skies of this doomed world can reveal the mystery of the atmospheres of alien planets. This information will one day help astronomers detect signs of life in distant worlds.
Over the past 25 years, scientists have confirmed the existence of more than 3,450 worlds outside the solar system. These discoveries have shown that some of these exoplanets are very different from the Earth and its brother planets. Finds include “hot Jupiter”, gas giants, orbiting their stars closer than Mercury around the Sun.
The last stage includes an analysis of the atmosphere of these distant worlds in order to learn more about their weather and composition. “The ultimate goal of such exoaspheric research would be to measure the presence of a biomarker molecule,” says lead author Thomas Oberst, an astrophysicist at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. He explained that biomarkers can serve as evidence of biological activity, such as photosynthesis.
Although the technology of detecting biomarkers in terrestrial-type exoplanet atmospheres appears to be delayed for several decades, “we can now study the atmospheres of hot jupiter using modern technologies and telescopes,” said Oberst. “Thus, hot Jupiters are the most valuable“ laboratories ”for creating and improving our understanding and methods of observing exoplanetary atmospheres.” Scientists investigated hot KELT-16b jupiter using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT), which includes telescopes in Arizona and South Africa. Scientists have discovered that a giant planet has a mass 2.75 times the size of Jupiter and 1.4 times its size.
KELT-16b revolves around the star KELT-16. It is about 1, 2 times the solar mass and is 1300 light years away from our planet. Observations of KELT-16 indicate that in addition to the planet, the star also has a satellite red dwarf star rotating at least 286 astronomical units from KELT-16. An astronomical unit (a. E.) Is the average distance between the Sun and the Earth. This is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).
KELT-16b is located at about 0.02 a. e. This is 1/20 of the distance from Mercury to the Sun. The planet can reach a heating temperature of about 4000 degrees Fahrenheit (2200 degrees Celsius).
Using modern models of the formation of giant planets, researchers suspect that KELT-16b might once have rotated much farther from its star than it is now, perhaps, at 5 a. e. Gravity tugs of a companion star could shift the orbit of the planet, sending it closer to the host star.
The fact that KELT-16b rotates so closely means that the planet is experiencing intense heat and high tides. The researchers estimated that it probably fell into a death spiral about 2, 1 billion years ago, and that tidal forces could tear the world apart in just 550,000 years.
“Most of them, if not all the hot Jupiters, are likely to be completely destroyed,” said Kivan Stassun, co-author of the study and researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville (Tennessee). For KELT-16b, researchers are prepared with accurate information about the age of the system and evolution. This will help determine the likely dates of death of the planet. Celt-16b is the sixth planet discovered so far, whose year (the time it takes the planet to orbit around its star) is less than a day. The regularity with which it rotates around its star will make it easier for astronomers to study starlight passing through the atmosphere of the planet. This information will help to understand the composition and activity of the atmosphere. The large size of the planet and the amount of received starlight will also bring many details.
Researchers hope that this giant planet will help explain what is happening on the border between night and day (the terminator) in such a highly irradiated world. “If its temperature cools sufficiently when the day and night sides change, KELT-16b may have heavy rains of titanium oxide and vanadium oxide at sunset,” said Oberst.
Further analysis of the doomed orbit of KELT-16b can tell about the evolution of exoplanets. “Although we now have many examples of how solar systems may look, the full picture should include how often the planets do not survive,” said Stassun. “That is, we need the statistics of the“ mortality of the planets ”in order to have a complete picture of the census.”