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.
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 space.com 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.