Flipping hot Jupiters
Why some planets orbit the wrong way
In the last few years astronomers have observed that in some extrasolar systems the star is spinning one way and the planet, a "hot Jupiter," is orbiting the star in the opposite direction. A Northwestern University research team is the first to model how these huge planets got so close to their stars -- thanks to gravitational perturbations by a much more distant planet -- and how the planets' orbits can flip in the process. More than 500 extrasolar planets -- planets that orbit stars other than the sun -- have been discovered since 1995. But only in the last few years have astronomers observed that in some of these systems the star is spinning one way and the planet, a "hot Jupiter," is orbiting the star in the opposite direction.
"That's really weird, and it's even weirder because the planet is so close to the star," said Frederic A. Rasio, a theoretical astrophysicist at Northwestern University. "How can one be spinning one way and the other orbiting exactly the other way? It's crazy. It so obviously violates our most basic picture of planet and star formation."
Lees verder: http://www.physorg.c...t-jupiters.html
Flipping hot jupiters
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