Bad astronomy | Two massive planets directly orbiting sun-like stars

In an exoplanetary first, astronomers have directly mimicked two massive planets, which are a virtual twin of the Sun – though much smaller.

The star is called TYC 8998-760-1 (after its ID number in the Tycho catalog), and is about 310 light years away in the constellation of Musca. It is part of a group of stars that all born together are called the Scorpius-Centaurus Association, which is easy because we know those stars are very small; The age of this star is about 17 million years. The age of the Sun is 4.6 billion years, 250 times the age of this star.

It also allows astronomers to calculate the mass of the star, which is – get it – 1.00 2 0.02 times the Sun, which means approximately Absolutely right The same mass as the Sun. This means that it is a virtual twin of the Sun, if it is small, and studying it gives us an indication of what things might happen to the Sun when it was an infant.

Earlier in 2020, astronomers found a giant planet orbiting the star (called TYC 8998-760-1b, so let’s call it “planet b”). It is indeed far away, 24 billion kilometers or 162 times the distance of the Earth-Sun, and about 14 times the mass of Jupiter. Many of the same astronomers found a second planet (“planet C”) around the star, even outside: about 50 billion kilometers, 320 times the Earth-Sun distance and about 6 times larger than Jupiter. .

They are so far out that the brightness from the star has decreased significantly, and this means that They show in both A real image Star taken:

Coooooool. Only two other multiplanet star systems have been directly imaged – HR 8799 and PDS 70 – but the former is slightly more massive than the Sun, and the latter is considerably less, making it a relevant system to study new , Especially since the planets and their configurations are very different from our own.

The star itself has most of the light blocked by a corona paragraph, a disc of metal in the middle of the camera’s view, significantly reducing its glare, allowing much more faint planets to be seen.

At this age, the planets are still shining due to the heat from their formation, making them brighter in the infrared where these pictures were taken. Planet B is more massive, so it is warmer and glows more.

So how do they know that these are planets and not background stars or very distant galaxies? To investigate, he compared the observations of the stars that had been separated by about three years. The star is actually moving through space so fast that its motion can be easily detected relative to the background objects of this time. If the two objects were planets, they would move with the stars, and if they were background stars, we would see that the star would move considerably relative to them.

The objects actually move with the stars! This means that they are real, friendly to the planets.

It is indeed very interesting that the planets are far from their stars. Neptune is about 6 billion kilometers from the Sun, about 30 times the Earth-Sun distance, so these are two planets Actually far out. It is unclear how far such massive planets can be from the star.

Astronomers looked at orbit simulations and found that if both have nearly spherical orbits, they are stable for at least a billion years in time, in which case they are far from the star. If instead they are more elliptical, then the orbits are No Stable at that time. In that case it is still possible that they got out of there, but it is also possible that they orbited closely and faced a more massive planet, and this caused them to drift across great distances, where today we Let’s see them.

This is why very Interesting. There is an idea that there were five gas giants in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and one fifth). The fifth quickly reached close to Jupiter and was ejected by gravity from the immense planet. This idea explains some strange features in our solar system configuration; It is not proven, but there is indirect evidence supporting it. We cannot prove it because the smoking gun – the fifth planet – is gone. But here we see another system with a star almost like the Sun, and the two planets are actually far away, possibly ejected. This makes the idea of ​​the local fifth planet a little more compelling.

This technique of creating exoplanet images is very new, and, as these observations show, you sometimes have to wait a few years to see that you are seeing planets. But it shows that we can, and that means we will find more.

We see planets everywhere, and with a wide variety of characteristics, but soon I bet we will see systems that are similar to our own. Whether they do, or seem completely foreign, we still learn important things about our home. I’m good with it


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