A team of researchers that includes elements from the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) detected a planet outside the solar system (exoplanet) of the most extreme to date, with temperatures of almost 3,200 degrees Celsius.
The discovery, published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics”, is part of the first results of the CHEOPS space telescope, launched last year by the European Space Agency (ESA).
According to information released this Monday in a statement by the IA, the planet, called WASP-189b, is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun and complete an orbit in just 2.7 days.
The researchers placed it in the category of “Hot Jupiter”, a type of exoplanet with a mass similar to that of Jupiter but with an orbit very close to its star that lasts less than 10 days. Mercury takes 88 days to complete the orbit around the Sun.
The planet will be about 1.6 times the diameter of Jupiter.
Thanks to the enormous precision of CHEOPS, we were able to measure the light emitted by the day side of this exoplanet. This gave us some data about the conditions of the atmosphere of this exotic planet. Its temperature of around 3,160º C makes it as hot as a small mass star, ”explained Olivier Demangeon, one of the AI researchers involved in the discovery, quoted in the statement.
Susana Barros, also from the IA, said that mother star is a blue star and it is bigger and almost two thousand degrees hotter than the Sun. It also has the peculiarity, he added, of rotating so fast that it is deformed, being elongated at the equator and flattened at the poles, which makes them hotter and brighter than the equator.
The CHEOPS satellite (Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite) was designed to observe nearby stars, around which exoplanets are known to exist.
The researchers cited in the statement admit that the WASP-189b will have formed farther from the star and later suffered gravitational disturbances from other planets or even a passing star, which tilted its orbit and pushed it very close to the star.
The CHEOPS consortium is led by Switzerland and ESA and has the participation of 11 European countries, one of them Portugal.
“AI’s participation in the CHEOPS consortium is part of a more comprehensive strategy to promote research on exoplanets in Portugal, through the construction, development and scientific definition of various space instruments and missions, such as CHEOPS or the ESPRESSO spectrograph, already in progress. operation at the Paranal Observatory (ESO) ”, in Chile, the statement said, explaining that investment in this area will continue in the coming years.
CHEOPS is also expected to observe hundreds of known exoplanets in the coming years and detect new and even exoplanets, as well as investigate the internal composition and atmosphere of exoplanets.
The IA includes researchers from the University of Lisbon and the University of Porto.