STRANGE! This exoplanet's unique tilted orbit left astronomers baffled

Astronomers found this alien planet via its unique star wobbles as it moves through space. Know in detail here.

| Updated on: Sep 09 2022, 22:32 IST
NASA: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter makes astonishing discovery
1/6 The lunar pits found by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have mild temperatures, drastically different from the extreme conditions on the surface of the Moon. The temperatures in these caves are nearly 17 degree Celsius almost at all times. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
2/6 NASA Moon recently tweeted, "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of pits indicate that the Moon has caves. Could they become astronaut habitats? Scientists have discovered that parts of the pits are always about 63°F (17°C), differing from extreme temperatures at the Moon's surface". (NASA)
3/6 The surface temperatures on the Moon can go from an extremely high 127 degrees Celsius and as low as -173 degrees Celsius. "The pits, and caves to which they may lead, would make thermally stable sites for lunar exploration compared to areas at the Moon's surface, which heat up to 260 F (about 127 C) during the day and cool to minus 280 F (about minus 173 C) at night,” NASA Moon tweeted further. (NASA)
4/6 First discovered in 2009, these lunar pits could potentially be used as location for a first Moon Base. Not only are the temperatures moderate, but these pits could also provide protection against cosmic rays, solar radiation and micrometeorites, according to NASA. (AP)
5/6 LRO Project Scientist Noah Petro of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, “Lunar pits are a fascinating feature on the lunar surface. Knowing that they create a stable thermal environment helps us paint a picture of these unique lunar features and the prospect of one day exploring them.” (NASA)
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6/6 The particular pit used to analyze the thermal properties by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was in an area of the Moon known as the Mare Tranquillitatis. It is 100-meters deep and as wide as a football field. According to scientists, the overhang of the pit is responsible for creating shadows on the Moon and maintaining a temperature of nearly 17 degrees Celsius at all times. (NASA)
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This unique exoplanet named GJ 896Ab is located 20.3 light-years away from Earth. (Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

For the first time, an exoplanet around a star in a binary star system has been portrayed in three dimensions. The strange fact is that the planet orbits its star at a different angle and scientists suggest that the misalignment could offer clues about how planets form in a binary system. The exoplanet named GJ 896Ab is located 20.3 light-years away from Earth, a report mentioned.

With the aid of archived optical observations from 1941 to 2017 and additional data covering 2006 to 2011 collected by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a network of 10 radio telescopes expanded across the United States, astronomers were able to follow the motion of the binary star system through space. In 2020, the researchers used the VLBA to record fresh observations.

The star GJ 896A appears to wobble along its course as it travels through space, according to the scientists, who were led by Salvador Curiel of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). An orbiting planet with 2.3 times the mass of Jupiter, which completes one orbit every 284.4 Earth days, is to account for this wobble. The star's wobble is the result of its motion around the barycenter, which is the shared centre of mass between the star and the planet.

Astrometry is the process of identifying changes in a star's motion as it travels through space. Since astronomers can clearly see the wobble and direction of the orbits, a planetary system with more than one star can only have its orbits interpreted in three dimensions using astrometry.

It's interesting to note that the plane of the planet's orbit is 148 degrees off from the plane of the orbits of the two stars.

Did you know?

Only 4 percent of known exoplanets have been found in binary star systems. This low percentage is partly due to the difficulty of finding planets in binary systems, but it's also because models indicate that the presence of a companion star can shorten and weaken a disk that forms planets.

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First Published Date: 09 Sep, 22:32 IST