Jupiter-sized planets may be snatched from their home planetary systems by massive young stars in a daring “planetary theft.”
The results could explain the existence of a huge gas giant outer planets – or “super Jupiters” – about huge, hot, young stars, which have been a mystery until now. The recently discovered B-star Exoplanet Exoplanet Study (BEAST) planets are Jupiter-like planets that orbit their massive stars at great distances, hundreds of times The separation between the earth and the sun.
“BEAST planets are a new addition to the myriad of exoplanet systems, displaying an astonishing diversity, from planetary systems around sun-like stars that are very different from our own solar system, to planets around advanced or dead stars,” Richard Parker said. An astrophysicist at the University of Sheffield in the UK and a co-author on the new research in statement.
Related: 10 amazing discoveries of exoplanets
The formation of Besties presents a problem because massive stars are exploding with massive amounts of ultraviolet radiation. Scientists believe that this radiation should prevent the growth of planets around them from reaching the size Jupiterthe largest planet in our solar system.
“While planets can form around massive stars, it is hard to imagine that gas giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn could form in such hostile environments, where radiation from stars can evaporate planets before they are fully formed,” Parker added.
The new research hypothesizes that these massive creatures did not form in their current systems at all, but instead were snatched from around smaller ones. stars in a stellar nursery, an area where star formation rates are particularly high. The pair of scientists doing the work came to this conclusion by simulating conditions in stellar nurseries, which showed that planets captured from these regions can settle into orbits similar to those in the observed BEASTies.
Previous research for the duo has already shown that massive stars within stellar nurseries can hunt planets from other stars or evil, free-floating planets that don’t orbit a star. But this research shows that these snatched worlds can become ‘the beast’.
“This is essentially a planetary theft,” Emma Davern-Powell, also an astronomer at the University of Sheffield, said in the same statement. “We know that massive stars have more influence in these nurseries than they do the sunLike stars, we’ve found that these massive stars can capture or steal planets — which we call “besties.” “
Daffern-Powell explains that the team’s computer simulations show that theft or capture of these BEASTies occurs on average once in the first 10 million years of the star-forming region’s evolution.
“Our results lend more credence to the idea that planets orbiting more than 100 times the distance from Earth to the Sun may not orbit their parent star,” Parker concluded.
The team’s research is part of a broader astronomy program aimed at discovering how common arrangements such as the solar system are across the thousands of planetary systems found in our galaxy, Milky Way.
The duo’s research was published on Wednesday (September 7) in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.