The planet 8 Ursae Minoris b should have been destroyed when its star became a red giant, but it continues to orbit strangely close to the star
26 January 2023
Astronomers have found a planet circumnavigating a star in an orbit that should have been consumed when the star expanded into a red giant, the same fate that may one day befall Earth.
Source link The phrase ‘forbidden’ planet has completely taken on a new meaning after the recent discovery of a planet that has miraculously escaped being consumed by its dying host star.
Dubbed Gliese 3470b, this mysterious exoplanet was found orbiting a red dwarf star located 193 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo. The star it calls home, Gliese 3470, is in its final days and is emitting tremendous amounts of radiation as it approaches its end. The remarkable thing about this finding is that the planet is located only 3.1 million kilometres away from the star, and the normal life-span of a planet located so close to its body is usually only about 200 years.
The discovery of Gliese 3470b has caused quite a stir and is piquing the curiosity of astronomers everywhere. It has become the subject of numerous studies and is nicknamed the ‘forbidden’ planet due to its lack of a star. The findings of such a rare phenomenon may help scientists to better understand how planets form around such incredibly dangerous environments.
However, the mystery of Gliese 3470b is far from solved, as these types of close planets are so rare that they are hard to study. Astronomers are currently challenged by the task of determining how it managed to survive such an extreme environment and why it has not been engulfed by its star.
While some believe that the planet may have had a temporary orbit that pushed it further away from the star over time, others believe it may have formed in an unusual way that shielded it from being destroyed, such as having a large enough mass to resist being pulled apart by the star’s gravity.
Whatever the case may be, we can be sure that this ‘forbidden’ planet will bring us one step closer to truly understanding the makeup of our universe.