Friday, March 19, 2010

Another Hot Jupiter: Much Farther From Its Star Than Others

"Newfound Alien World Resembles Those in Our Solar System" (March 17, 2010)

"A newly discovered exoplanet is the first such alien world to resemble the planets in our own solar system, researchers announced Wednesday.

"The planet, dubbed CoRoT-9b, was found to be about the size of Jupiter and situated at an orbit similar to Mercury, which is the innermost planet in our solar system.

"While that seems close, it is much farther away than other gas giant planets found around alien stars with the exoplanet detection method used in the new study. This distance in turn means that CoRoT-9b has a more temperate climate than other gas giants - so-called 'hot Jupiters' - that can experience radical temperature swings.

"The research team also thinks that the planet has an interior composition similar to that of Jupiter and Saturn...."

First of all, about those stars with "CoRoT" as part of their designation. The European Space Agency seems to think that it's "COROT," and since they're the ones who build COROT's on-board computer processors, I assume they know how it's supposed to be capitalized. (See COROT overview, ESA) I've seen variations, though. (More about COROT at "COROT," Centre National d'Etudes Spaciales (CNES).

Before we started finding exoplanets, astronomers often assumed that other planetary systems would be like ours: relatively small rocky worlds close to the star, big gas giants farther out. And that you just wouldn't find something like Jupiter close to its star.

Then we started finding 'hot Jupiters' - so now the trick has been to get more data and try to work out how they got there.

COROT-9b is a pretty big deal:

"...One thing that makes CoRoT-9b such an important find is that its distance from its parent star is about 10 times larger than any other planet previously discovered with this transiting method.

"It also has a low eccentricity orbit, compared to many other exoplanet gas giants discovered so far, which means that its distance from its star doesn't vary wildly like that of other exoplanets. It is that stable distance that allows CoRoT-9b's more temperate climate, researchers said...."

The COROT mission is mostly run by the French space agency: Centre National d'Etudes Spaciales, or CNES. Stars with the COROT designation aren't necessarily in the same part of space: they're called that because they were cataloged by the COROT team.

All of which isn't terribly interesting to quite a few folks. Me? I'm fascinated by this stuff: and maybe you're interested, too.

Which is why I put together this list of more-or-less-related posts:
Related posts, at

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