8 Ursae Minoris b is an intriguing exoplanet, and it shouldn’t even exist, astronomers say. Not solely is the planet located at simply half the Earth-Solar distance from its star, however its star additionally seems to have already moved past a section that ought to have brought about it to develop and destroy the planet. But in some way, 8 Ursae Minoris b continues to exist, defying all logical explanations and leaving astronomers baffled.
So how precisely has this mysterious exoplanet defied its loss of life? Effectively, as Ars Technica explains, there are few attainable explanations right here, although none of them are very plausible. That’s as a result of astronomers who first found the planet say it might have prevented annihilation as a result of its host star received distracted swallowing a white dwarf as an alternative.
Astronomers first found this exoplanet that shouldn’t exist utilizing the radial velocity technique. This technique watches for adjustments within the mild from a star to attempt to decide if a planet is orbiting it. This tugging creates a little bit of a blue shift within the mild when the planet pulls the star in direction of Earth, and the crimson shift it pulled away. It’s exhausting to estimate precisely how huge planets are, although, as a result of they by no means totally pull the blue shift in direction of Earth.
As such, astronomers should estimate so much in regards to the planet. Primarily based on the readings they took, it appears that evidently this exoplanet is over 1.6 occasions the mass of Jupiter, making it fairly a giant planet. It’s additionally very near its star, at half the space between the Earth and the Solar. It reportedly completes a full orbit in simply 93 days. So how did this exoplanet survive the loss of life and enlargement of its star?
One attainable clarification is that 8 Ursae Minoris b is a lot extra huge than its star — that it’s large enough to outlive being enveloped by the star. Nonetheless, there’s solely about an eight % likelihood of that being the case. The most definitely clarification, they are saying, is that the planet began out orbiting a pair of stars, and that the present star stripped the opposite of its environment, conserving it from consuming the planet away.
It’s nonetheless unconfirmed, but when this clarification does show truthful, it creates much more mysteries for astronomers to decipher all through our universe. Our understanding of planetary formation is already being challenged in different methods, so this discovery might merely add to the proof that we actually don’t know what’s taking place in our universe.