Approximately 530 light-years from Earth, scientists have discovered a fast spinning dwarf star that has a planet 3 times the size of Jupiter around it once every 5 days.
This newly discovered exoplanet, given the designation TOI-778 b, is an instance of a “hot Jupiter,” a world comparable to Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system, but situated far closer to its star. Surface temperatures high enough to melt iron and orbital periods of less than 10 Earth days are only two examples of the severe circumstances that might result from such close contact.
At a range of around 5.6 million miles from its star TOI-778, this hot Jupiter completes one circle every 5.7 days. As a comparison, Mercury, the solar system’s innermost planet, is around 29 million miles from the sun, making this a significantly closer approach. The exoplanet TOI-778 b is around 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter and has a radius of about 1.4 times that of Jupiter. The surface of TOI-778 b, which circles its host every 4.6 days, is likely approximately 2240 degrees Fahrenheit.
Astronomers headed by Jake T. Clark from the University of Southern Queensland used NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite to discover TOI-778 b. (TESS). Over 6,000 candidate exoplanets, known as TESS Objects of Interest, have been discovered so far by TESS’s study of over 200,000 neighboring stars (TOI). Over half (282) of these TOI have verified exoplanet status, adding to the list of well than 5,000 extrasolar planets known to exist.
Its parent star is 71 percent bigger and 40 percent more massive than the sun, making it a dwarf compared to the planet’s home star. TOI-778 is another fast rotator; it spins at a rate of around 90,000 mph. It is predicted that the surface temperature of the 1.95 billion-year-old star is between 11,600 and 11,780 degrees Fahrenheit, making it much younger than our 4.6 billion-year-old sun.
To detect this new hot Jupiter, Clark’s team looked for a decrease in TOI-778’s light output when the planet crossed, or transited, the face of its parent star, as seen from Earth. Following up with ground-based telescope observations and velocity data, scientists were able to confirm TOI-778 b’s planetary status. Clark and his colleagues also discovered that TOI-778 b’s orbit is quite near to being perpendicular to the stellar equator of its dwarf star. They think the planet made its way to its present location by a slow, methodical migration across the disk of its host star, TOI-778.
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