SCIENCE

The Existence Of 'Hot Jupiters' Puts to Question The Normality Of Our Solar System

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Mar, 29, 2016, 10:36 PM
Tags : Jupiter, space
Jupiter-Like Star
(Photo : Getty Images/NASA)

Almost 2,000 exoplanets have been discovered in the last few years. In addition, another 5,000 exoplanets are being considered as "hot Jupiters." What does this mean, however?

The exoplanets, or dwarf planets, are dubbed "hot Jupiter" because of how similar to Jupiter they are. They are gas giants and the only difference is they are hotter than Jupiter because of how close they orbit their stars.

Initially, scientists believed that it was strange for objects to orbit so close to their stars. The researchers behind the study of these "hot Jupiters" are reconsidering, however. Astronomer Greg Laughlin, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, explained how the exoplanets functioned around their stars.  

"As the planet gets closer to the star, it feels a burst of starlight, or radiation. The atmosphere becomes a cauldron of chemical reactions, and the winds ramp up far beyond hurricane force," said Laughlin in a statement.

Exoplanet HD 8o6o6b is currently in the process mentioned by Laughlin. The planet swings close to its star every 111 days. Scientists believe that one side of the planet is hotter than the other during its encounter with its star. The side of the planet facing the star reaches temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

"If you take a Nerf ball and squeeze it a bunch of times really fast, you'll see that it heats up," Laughlin said in a statement. "That's because the Nerf ball is good at transferring that mechanical energy into heat. It's squishy as a result."

"We are starting to learn how long it may take for hot Jupiter migration to occur," said Co-author Julien de Wit. "Our theories said it shouldn't take that long because we don't see migrating hot Jupiters very often."

"The long time scales we are observing here suggest that a leading migration mechanism may not be as efficient for hot Jupiter formation as once believed," said Laughlin.

The existence of many "hot Jupiters" may be plausible, but they still sound strange to the ears of many Earthlings.  

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