Like Earth, most of the planets we know are in the shape of spheres, except Jupiter, which has several rings around it. Yet Jupiter also resembles a sphere. But do all planets, including those outside our solar system, have a spherical shape? The answer is no, according to a new research paper, stating that it’s justifiably possible for some planets to resemble a potato. Researchers have discovered a planet called WASP-103b about 1,500 light-years away from Earth, which they believe is more shaped like a potato or a rugby ball.
But why is it so weirdly shaped? Astronomers say WASP-103b orbits an F-type star, larger and more massive than our Sun. The planet is also large – about one and a half times the size of Jupiter. However, the planet’s relatively close proximity to its home star is responsible for its unusual shape.
Published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics magazine, the study said that WASP-103b is only 20,000 miles from its home star and could trigger tidal stresses to pull it into an unlikely shape. By comparison, the distance between Earth and its home star Sun is about 93 million miles.
The Earth takes a year to revolve around the sun, and other planets in the solar system also take at least a few months or several years to complete one revolution of the sun. However, there are some exoplanets, known as “hot jupiters,” that orbit their home stars in a matter of days and hours. The orbital period of WASP-103b is only 22 hours.
“It’s unbelievable that Cheops was able to reveal this minuscule deformation,” said Jacques Laskar, a co-author of the study. rack.
The researchers used ESA’s CHEOPS satellite and relied on data from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to come to the conclusion about the rugby ball shape of the WASP-103b.
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