Unlike the planets in our solar system, two of the newly discovered planets are orbiting in the opposite direction to the rotation of their host star. This, along with a recent study of other exoplanets, upsets the primary theory of how planets are formed. There is a preponderance of these planets with their orbital spin going opposite to that of their parent star. They are called exoplanets because they are located outside of our solar system.
These and other related discoveries are being presented at the UK National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, this week. This is the first public mention of the new planets and the research will be described in upcoming scientific journal articles.
"Planet evolution theorists now have to explain how so many planets came to be orbiting like this," said Tim Lister, a project scientist at LCOGT. Lister leads a major part of the observational campaigns along with Rachel Street of LCOGT, Andrew Cameron of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and Didier Queloz, of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland.
Data from LCOGT was instrumental in confirming the new planet discoveries. By adding these nine new "transiting" planets, the number of known transiting planets has grown from 71 to 80. A transit occurs when a celestial body passes in front of its host star and blocks some of the star's light. This type of eclipse causes a small drop in the apparent brightness of the star and enables the planet's mass, diameter, density, and temperature to be deduced.
After the initial detection of the new exoplanets by the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP), the team of astronomers combined data from LCOGT's 2.0-meter Faulkes Telescopes in Hawaii and Australia with follow-up from other telescopes to confirm the discoveries and characterize the planets.The planets are revolving around nearby stars within 1,000 light years of our galaxy. Their stars are located in the constellations Pegasus, Virgo, Pisces, and Andromeda in the northern hemisphere, and Eridanus, Hydra, Cetus, and Phoenix in the southern hemisphere.
The cores of giant planets are thought to form from a mix of rock and ice particles found only in the cold outer reaches of planetary systems. Hot Jupiters, therefore, must form far from their star and subsequently migrate inwards over the course of a few million years. Many astronomers believed this could happen due to gravitational interactions with the disk of dust from which they formed, which might have also subsequently formed Earth-like rocky planets. However, these new results suggest that this may not be the whole story, because it does not explain how planets end up orbiting in a direction contrary that of the disk.
According to the research team, the best alternative migration theory suggests that the proximity of Hot Jupiters to their stars is not due to interactions with the dust disk at all, but to a slower evolution involving a gravitational tug-of-war with more distant planetary or stellar companions over hundreds of millions of years. Bounced onto a tilted and elongated orbit, a wandering gas giant would suffer tidal friction every time it swung close to the star, eventually becoming parked in a near circular, but randomly tilted orbit close to the star. "In this scenario, smaller planets in orbits similar to Earth's are unlikely to survive," said Rachel Street.
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a worldwide network of robotically controlled telescopes, which will enable astronomers to observe 24 hours a day, from both hemispheres. Currently, LCOGT operates two 2.0-meter telescopes: Faulkes North in Maui, Hawaii, and Faulkes South in New South Wales, Australia. LCOGT also has a telescope in Sedgwick Reserve, a nature reserve in Central California funded and managed by UC and UCSB. Over the course of the next few years, an armada of telescopes will be commissioned, distributed over six sites in both hemispheres of the globe, all controlled from LCOGT's headquarters in Goleta, Calif. These new facilities will be one of the largest networks of telescopes in the world, and will be an unprecedented tool for exploring the dynamic nature of a range of astrophysical phenomena. LCOGT's flexible approach to scheduling means the network provides responsive and highly efficient follow-up for large-scale surveys such as WASP. LCOGT is affiliated with neighboring UC Santa Barbara.
Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State
What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?
02.12.2016 | University of Toronto
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy