Sunday, June 17, 2012
A strange hot spot on a planet from outside our solar system
The Spitzer Space Telescope NASA has exposed a strange point of heat in a planet outside our solar system in the Andromeda group, 44 light years from the Earth. The planet, Upsilon Andromeda, is a massive such as 'hot Jupiters', named for its high temperatures and gas formation. The strange thing, the mystery that scientists cannot manage to explain, is that this extraordinary heat zone is located in a part of the planet in which there should be, away from exposure to the star, which contradicts all theories known.
The planet Upsilon Andromeda, close to its star
In theory, the hottest part of these gas planets should be directly under the exposed face of its star, but previous observations have shown that hot spots can be shifted slightly due to strong winds moving the gaseous material that is around. So far everything is understandable.
However, the new zone discovered in this "hot Jupiter" puts into question this theory. Using the system's infrared Spitzer, astronomers collected data on the planet for five days in February 2009, long enough to see the full rotation of Upsilon Andromeda b around its star, it takes 4.6 days. In this way, they discovered that the hot spot of the planet is far from the glare of the star, sort of like going to the beach late in the evening to feel the most heat. "We did not expect to find something semejanet" admits Ian Crossfield, lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Astrophysical Journal. In his view, the finding demonstrates "that we understand less than we thought about the energy forces of the planets."
Scientists have analyzed a number of possible explanations for this phenomenon: supersonic winds have heated material, magnetic interactions with stars.... But these are only speculations. "is an unexpected result," acknowledges Michael Wernesr also one of the scientists who are responsible for Spitzer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA (JPL, for its acronym in English) in Pasadena (California) . "We are far from understanding these distant worlds."
Astronomers hope that as the Spitzer observations and make new "hot Jupiter’s" are examined, these mysterious planets may end up revealing their secrets.
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