Found: The planet that shouldn't exist (w/ Video)

Aug 26, 2009
An artist's impression of a transiting exoplanet: Credit NASA/Hubble

(PhysOrg.com) -- The 'most unlikely' discovery of a new planet which could spiral into its star within the next 500,000 years, has been made by Scottish astronomers.

The find, by an international team including the University of St Andrews, is so bizarre that odds on catching it at this late stage in its life were 1000-1.

The 'huge new planet', found orbiting a star 1000 light years away, was discovered by the UK's WASP project, of which St Andrews is a founding member.

Newly-christened WASP-18b, the planet is so massive and so close to its host star that it is almost certain to spiral inwards to its destruction during the lifetime of the star.

Researchers from St Andrews are currently calculating the rate at which tidal interactions between star and planet will eventually cause the planet's orbit to decay completely.

St Andrews' physicist, Professor Andrew Collier Cameron said, "This is another bizarre WASP planet discovery. The situation is analogous to the way tidal friction is gradually causing the earth's spin to slow down, and the Moon to spiral away from the earth.

"In this case, however, the spin of the star is slower than the orbit of the planet - so the star should be spinning up, and the planet spiralling in."

WASP-18b is ten times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its star in less than one Earth-day. The new planet belongs to a now-common class of extrasolar planets known as 'hot Jupiters' - massive thought to have formed far from their host stars that migrated inwards over time.

The discovery, led by Keele University's Coel Hellier, suggests that WASP-18's parent star is about a billion years old - making the likelihood of observing WASP-18b about one in a thousand.

If the planet's remaining life is as short as predicted, its orbital decay should be measurable within a decade.

Professor Cameron continued, "We don't yet know how long the planet will survive, because we don't understand fully how tides operate on the Sun and other . It could be half a million years, or half a billion. But if it's spiralling in quickly, we should be able to see measurable changes in the orbit within ten years."

Provided by University of St Andrews

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User comments : 21

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zevkirsh
5 / 5 (1) Aug 26, 2009
this would look great if visualized with cg. especially the plasma star tide following the planets orbit.
jax
3 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2009
Maybe there is a 3rd possibility: Maybe since the planet it so close to the sun that the suns energy is driving it outward and either slowing its course into the sun or maintaining its current orbit.
omatumr
2 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2009
PERHAPS TIDES ARE THE ANSWER

Professor Cameron makes an intriguing comment:

". . . we don't understand fully how tides operate on the Sun and other stars."


The study of solar tides may be the way to resolve if the internal structure of the Sun is very heterogeneously layered, as we suggested*, or homogeneous as the Standard Solar Model suggests.

* http://arxiv.org/.../0609509

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://www.omatumr.com
Adriab
4 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2009
Maybe there is a 3rd possibility: Maybe since the planet it so close to the sun that the suns energy is driving it outward and either slowing its course into the sun or maintaining its current orbit.

Interesting idea, but I doubt the radiation pressure could do the trick. If you had a general luminosity of the star, masses of the bodies involved, and radii you could do a quick check to see.

I'm more interested how the planet got to where it is, perhaps this system is a failed binary system? Or maybe it is just an extreme case of another hot-Jupiter.

Either way, so much cool stuff out there to find, I am glad we have more instruments dedicated to finding extrasolar planets.
John_Doe
2 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2009
Let's see.
A huge planet very close to it's star.
Not interested.
We want planets similar to Earth, so they might have life.
Royale
not rated yet Aug 27, 2009
Life doesn't need to be "as we know it".
But I agree JohnDoe, I'm not interested either (about hot jupiters) it's going to take perfecting their detection before we can find smaller, more rocky, and more outlying planets. Remember they're doing this by looking at the way the extra-solar sun wobbles, or by picking up what little light flickers as the planet passes by. Give it time, there is life out there.

I'm sort of upset with the title of this article. Did anyone else thing they were trying to say that they confirmed the extra-plant theory of our solar system? That's what made me read the article. (But I suppose if they called it "another hot-jupiter planet found" not too many people would read it.)
DozerIAm
4 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2009
This has the potential to be interesting ... in a decade.

("if it's spiralling in quickly, we should be able to see measurable changes in the orbit within ten years.")
farahikia_1983
not rated yet Aug 27, 2009
Kind of odd. Spiral movement of the Sun and the other planets around the Earth was once the concept of the heavens when our home was thought to be the center of the universe.
Now, a new planet is found to be spiraling around its home sun.
The reason for spiraling is to be found as well. Whatever the reason might be, it can give us a clue to the fate of Earth millions to billions of years from now.
omatumr
2 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2009
THE MOON SPIRLS AROUND EARTH THAT SPIRLS AROUND THE SUN . . .

Because the Moon was ejected from the Earth and Earth was ejected from the Sun: http://tinyurl.com/359q3u

The question is this: Does the presence of a Jupiter-like planet close to the remnant star mean that rocky, dense, Earth-like planets have already been eaten?

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://www.omatumr.com

lomed
4 / 5 (1) Aug 27, 2009
The study of solar tides may be the way to resolve if the internal structure of the Sun is very heterogeneously layered, as we suggested*, or homogeneous as the Standard Solar Model suggests.
The tides produced by an object on another object decrease in intensity like 1/(r^3), the planet that produces the biggest tides on the Sun is Jupiter. Since Jupiter is around 320 times the Earth's mass, and is at about 5 times the distance from the Sun it produces only about 3 times the tidal force on the Sun that Earth does. The tidal force of the Earth on the Sun is the same as that of the Sun on the Earth, which is about half that of the Moon (as indicated by the ocean tides produced). Thus, even if the plasma on the Sun responded like water on Earth, one would only expect a tide a few feet high (perhaps tens of feet if all the planets were aligned). I don't think such a small difference is measurable with current technology (the sun rotates much slower than the Earth so the bulge would be less obvious).

I think that helioseismology (the measurement of Sunquakes/sound waves on the Sun) would be more useful, since the mechanics of sound/pressure wave propagation are well known, and observations have been done already.
Royale
not rated yet Aug 28, 2009
Interesting that I just saw a show about this last night lomed. Just to clarify lomed's statement the sun has about half the pull of the moon on our tides, which basically boils down to the moon's influence being 2/3 a factor and the sun's being the other 1/3. The rest can be considered negligible, since everything else is either small or far away, or both.
lomed
5 / 5 (2) Aug 28, 2009
The question is this: Does the presence of a Jupiter-like planet close to the remnant star mean that rocky, dense, Earth-like planets have already been eaten?
Since Jupiter-like objects are thought to form far away from stars (like where the giant planets are in our solar system), in order to be so close to its star this planet would have had to move a long way inward. Moving giant planets tend to make smaller planets' orbits eccentric and/or eject them from the system (the giant planet has to give up its gravitational potential energy somewhere). So, while it is not impossible for a rocky planet to be found in said solar system, I wouldn't think it to be very likely (and even less likely that it would be in the "habitable zone").
Royale
not rated yet Aug 28, 2009
Iomed: Agreed. Explained very nicely.
Bjarne
not rated yet Aug 31, 2009

Mathematical Breakthrough
It is now mathematical proven that the decelerating force that affected the Pioneer probes and the accelerating force that had caused many Fly-by anomalies:
1.) Both affect the Earth (and the planets) as well, - and with full force.
2.) Automatically equalize each other (when affecting the planets).
3.) This explains the cause of the WASP-18b mystery and all the probes anomalies as well.

http://www.scienc...aly.html
lomed
not rated yet Aug 31, 2009
From the site linked to in the last post:
It must be remarked that it is not possible to disprove this new theory.
Surely this is a mistake, any theory that makes predictions about phenomena that haven't been observed yet can be falsified, as long as the conditions under which these new phenomena should happen are observable.
1.) Both affect the Earth (and the planets) as well, - and with full force.

2.) Automatically equalize each other (when affecting the planets).

3.) This explains the cause of the WASP-18b mystery and all the probes anomalies as well.
I saw the equation used to explain the Pioneer Anomaly; where is the evidence that the inspiral of WASP-18b can be explained by the same formula? (assuming it is due to the same effect I assume it would be governed by the same formula)
Bjarne
not rated yet Sep 01, 2009
I saw the equation used to explain the Pioneer Anomaly; where is the evidence that the inspiral of WASP-18b can be explained by the same formula? (assuming it is due to the same effect I assume it would be governed by the same formula)


You must read the whole chapter, and follw all links, then you will see the two new unknown forces equalize each other. Its the excactly smae that happens with WASP-18b. We will certianly find more such planet, also these will be stable in their orbit, (not approaching the Star)- Yes we have to wait and see to be sure. Just remember, BIG surprise / chock to science is coming.
lomed
not rated yet Sep 02, 2009
You must read the whole chapter, and follw all links, then you will see the two new unknown forces equalize each other.
I did find the calculation for WASP-18b, thank you for alerting me to what I missed.

However, you seem to take Y-1 (Y=1/sqrt(1-(v/c)^2)) to be an deceleration; however, Y is dimensionless it cannot, by itself, be any dimensionful quantity (e.g. velocity, acceleration, etc.). The acceleration of an object is slightly different (from the classical formula) in relativity, and does involve a factor of Y when one converts between frames. The lorentz invariant quantity analogous to acceleration is the 4-vector ((1/c)dE/dt,Ax*Y,Ay*Y,Az*Y) where E=Ymc^2 and Ax,Ay,Az are the accelerations in the x,y, and z directions, respectively, in the frame in which one is calculating the dynamics. (the vector is invariant in that its magnitude remains the same before and after a lorentz transformation/boost)

On the site, it is actually demonstrated that the "space wind" and "resistance" do not cancel; which is attributed to outside factors which are assumed to make the orbit stable (in order for the planet to exist long enough that the observation of the planet at this point in its existence not be of extremely low probability).
BjarneLorenzen
not rated yet Sep 03, 2009
Is it not working anymore?
BjarneLorenzen
not rated yet Sep 03, 2009
However, you seem to take Y-1 (Y=1/sqrt(1-(v/c)^2)) to be an deceleration; however, Y is dimensionless it cannot, by itself, be any dimensionful quantity (e.g. velocity, acceleration, etc.).

Y express bacically resistance against motion, and must hence express negative velocity.

But yes normally we use the transformation factor "dimensionless" to find KE or M incrase. Anyway its a process taking place 1.) resistance increase = (negative velocity) = 2.) KE increase = 3.) Mass increase. If you think the negative velocity (per s.) is wrong, what would you say is the correct one ?. I think you will agree the right one is (Y-1) right ?

The "space-wind" doesn't equalize 100 % with each "resistance" right. - But it is also explained that the inner planets contributes to sets space into circulation and hence also transfer KE to the outer planets, exactly like the "space-wind" following the suns does.
lomed
not rated yet Sep 03, 2009
If you think the negative velocity (per s.) is wrong, what would you say is the correct one ?
The values for Y that you calculated seem to be correct.
hence also transfer KE to the outer planets
I don't know of any outer planets (or other planets in general) in the WASP-18 system, do you have any references?

Suppose we set up an ideal situation in which there are two point masses, with one much more mass than the other. In this system, neither body is spinning, so there is no contribution due to "space-wind" (or anything else, there is only space and the two objects), but there is a deceleration due to "resistance". This deceleration implies that there are no stable orbits, any bound orbit will eventually decay to one with a smaller semi-major axis (asymptotically approaching the central object). At the very least, this theory would seem to violate energy conservation unless the energy goes into space itself (then the question becomes, what happens to it there?).
BjarneLorenzen
not rated yet Sep 04, 2009
I don't know of any outer planets (or other planets in general) in the WASP-18 system, do you have any references?
Suppose we set up an ideal situation in which there are two point masses, etc....


It should be 2 (discovered ) big planets in orbit around the motherstar WASP-18. ....

The thing is: that the rotation velocity of the Star is very important for the strenght of the "space-wind" (centrifugal-force).
If WASP-18b was in orbit (the same distance) around our Sun, it would die much faster (few million years) because our sun rotates 6 times slower, than the mother star WASP-18
This mean you can use the equation RMm/Q/r^2 to forecast a lot, - e.g; that it MUST be possible to find more very closee orbiting planets around other FAST rotating stars as well, but you will NOT find such not around the SLOW rotating stars.
And you can forescast that the exoplanets must follow the same pattern as showed to the site (science27.com)
Also the two forces in these cases must equalize each othe. I will research this now and update the site later...(PS..If this is not perfect english, I hope you can live with it)..

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