Astronomers find evidence of a planet with a mass almost 13 times that of Jupiter

ScienceDaily | 4/8/2019 | Staff
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Brazilian astronomers have now found the first evidence of the existence of an exoplanet orbiting an older or more evolved binary in which one of the two stars is dead.

The study resulted from a postdoctoral research project and a research internship abroad, both with scholarships from São Paulo Research Foundation -- FAPESP. Its findings have just been published in the Astronomical Journal.

Leonardo - Andrade - Almeida - Author - Article

Leonardo Andrade de Almeida, first author of the article, told as follow: "We succeeded in obtaining pretty solid evidence of the existence of a giant exoplanet with a mass almost 13 times that of Jupiter [the largest planet in the Solar System] in an evolved binary system. This is the first confirmation of an exoplanet in a system of this kind."

Almeida is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), having conducted postdoctoral research at the University of São Paulo's Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG-USP), where he was supervised by Professor Augusto Damineli, a coauthor of the study.

Clues - Researchers - Exoplanet - Binary - KIC

Clues followed by the researchers to discover the exoplanet in the evolved binary called KIC 10544976, located in the Cygnus constellation in the northern celestial hemisphere, included variations in eclipse timing (the time taken for each of the two stars to eclipse the other) and orbital period.

"Variations in the orbital period of a binary are due to gravitational attraction among the three objects, which orbit around a common center of mass," Almeida said.

Period - Variations - Existence - Planet - Case

Orbital period variations are not enough to prove the existence of a planet in the case of binaries, however, because binary stars' magnetic activity fluctuates periodically, just as the Sun's magnetic field changes polarity every 11 years, with turbulence and the number and size of sunspots peaking and then declining.

"Variations in the Sun's magnetic activity eventually cause a change in its...
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