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A Star Askew: A Potential Cause of the Misalignment of a Star and Its Planets

13 Apr 2021, 21:13 UTC
A Star Askew: A Potential Cause of the Misalignment of a Star and Its Planets
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Title: A backward-spinning star with two coplanar planetsAuthors: Maria Hjorth, Simon Albrecht, Teruyuki Hirano, Joshua N. Winn, Rebekah I. Dawson, J. J. Zanazzi, Emil Knudstrup, & Bun’ei SatoFirst author’s institution: Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, DenmarkStatus: Open access on arXiv, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
At the time of writing this Bite, we’ve discovered over 4,000 exoplanetary systems! As we discover more and more exoplanetary systems, we are beginning to get a sense of systems’ typical characteristics, such as where different types of planets generally lie. One of these characteristics is that, in general, planets will form roughly parallel to the equator of their star and all orbit in the same direction. This is true in our own Solar System, where the planets are roughly co-planar with each other and with the Sun’s equator, and the planets all orbit the Sun counterclockwise ( when viewed from the top down). However, in some systems – especially those containing hot Jupiters – the protoplanetary disk (PPD) can be disrupted and become misaligned with the rotation of the star. In some cases, this misalignment is due to the planets within the PPD scattering ...

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