An international team, led by researchers from the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA), has detected for the first time the deformation of an exoplanet, resembling the shape of a rugby ball, announced this Tuesday.
The study, published in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, was based on New observations made by the CHEOPS space mission, of the European Space Agency (ESA), this Tuesday reveals the IA in a statement.
Wasp 103 b, the studied exoplanet orbiting a star . has been designated 1.7 times larger than the sun And 200 degrees warmer.
“This exoplanet is almost like a rugby ball.”, watching.
The observations are “the result of several years of work at IAstro, developing models of the deformation of the planet,” said Susanna Barros, a researcher at IAstro and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Porto’s (FCUP) Faculty of Science. Highly accurate data analysis modelsHe adds that this accuracy “allowed us to discover the distorted shape of an exoplanet for the first time.”
The deformation of this exoplanet can be explained by its proximity to its star, given that Wasp-103b “takes only one day to complete its orbit.”
With such close proximity, astronomers have long suspected that the star’s massive tidal forces would result from massive deformation of the planet, which could not be confirmed until now, says the IA.
Combining CHEOPS observations of exoplanet transits with known data from the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope He asserted that the planet “is actually wider at the equator than at the poles.”
The accuracy of CHEOPS’ observations can be used to reveal more information about the internal structure of this distorted planet.
On Earth, we have tides caused by the Moon and the Sun, but we see them only in the movement of the oceans, and the rocky part of the Earth practically does not move. The researcher explains that measuring the amount of deformation of the planet allows us to determine which parts of it are rocky, gaseous or watery, since the resistance of the material to deformation depends on its composition.
Arithmetic determines the number of love [parâmetro físico que mede como é que a massa se distribui pelo planeta], and in the case of Wasp-103b, this number contains A value similar to that of the largest planet in the solar system, suggesting “a similar interior composition, although the planets are in very different environments”.
2/ The planet, known as WASP-103b, is twice as massive and 1.5 times the mass of Jupiter, and orbits its host star WASP-103 in less than a day. # heads revealed that # planet It was distorted by the powerful tidal forces between the planet and its host star. pic.twitter.com/9jkzgUAlrd
– ESA CHEOPS – Extrasolar Satellite Characterization (ESA_CHEOPS) January 11 2022
Because of the “poor precision in calculating the love number”, More feedback will be needed from CHEOPS, which will later be supplemented by infrared observations of the James Webb Space Telescope.
The statement also quoted researcher Nuno Cardoso Santos as saying that the result “well demonstrates the potential of the CHEOPS mission and the IA team’s ability to do innovative science.”
This is just a first step. More observations from the CHEOPS mission, as well as data that will be collected by future missions like PLATO, will give us the possibility to study deformation on more exoplanets, he says.
The CHEOPS consortium leads Switzerland and ESA, with Participation of 11 European countries. In Portugal, IA is leading the engagement.
IAstro’s strategy will continue over the next few years, notably with the launch of the PLATO Space Telescope in 2026, the ARIEL mission in 2029, and the installation of the HIRES spectrometer on the largest next-generation telescope, ELT, scheduled to become operational in 2029. 2030
“Friendly zombie fanatic. Analyst. Coffee buff. Professional music specialist. Communicator.”