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A mysterious, undiscovered force affects the orbit of two alien worlds

In their search for an extraterrestrial world inhabited by human life, astronomers often come across worlds that undermine expectations, but a recent study published in the journal Astronomy and astrophysics revealed a whole solar system that is far stranger than first observations suggested.

Two of the planets orbiting the star HD 3167, which is about 150 light-years away, orbit at right angles to the plane that usually follows the planets, passing above and below the poles of the host star instead of around the equator, such as Earth and others. the planets in our solar system do.

But now researchers have mapped the orbit of the innermost planet, called HD 3167 b, for the first time. And instead of following the polar orbit up and down like the other two in the system, it orbits normally, orbiting the equator of its star.

We’ve never seen anything like it before. And a mysterious, undiscovered force is wreaking havoc there.

Something huge has drastically changed the solar system

“It was obviously a surprise,” said Vincent Burier of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who is leading the study, in a report by New York Times. “It’s something radically different from our own solar system.” Unfortunately, none of these planets are likely to be habitable, but if you could stand on one of them, you would see a strange sight. “If you had a telescope and you looked at the trajectories of the other planets in the system, they would move vertically in the sky.” It’s no surprise to find exoplanets locked in polar orbits, said Andrew Vanderburg of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is leading the initial discovery of the planets HD 3167 c and d, but is not part of a more recent study in the report. But the perpendicular distribution of this solar system is “strange,” he added.

This new discovery came about thanks to a specialized instrument equipped with a very large telescope in Chile called ESPRESSO. It uses extremely precise measurements of the star, allowing scientists to track the direction of motion of the innermost planet as it moves between its host star and us, in an orbital maneuver called transit. And this study revealed the angle of the orbit of the innermost planet. The system’s inconsistency may have been caused by an invisible object, and Shveta Dalal of the English University of Exeter said the evidence points to the possibility of a planet the size of Jupiter in the orbit of the main star over a period of 80 days.

An alien solar system is extremely tightly packed

If this is the mysterious force, then its gravitational force may have pushed the outer two planets into unconventional orbits, leaving the innermost planet in place only because the host star, in much greater proximity, held it in place. “A planet the size of Jupiter could be massive enough to tilt the planets,” Dalal said in NYTimes report. obviously our solar system also has Jupiter, but because the planets in our solar system have wider orbits, Earth and the other planets have escaped this confusing perpendicular behavior.

The planets in HD 3167, on the other hand, “are all in Mercury’s orbit,” in terms of their host star, Dalal said. Crowded together in such a narrow orbital plane, the gravitational interactions of each planet on top of the other are greatly increased. We have to think of our lucky star (the sun) as hosting a system that was a little less weird and a little more spacious. Otherwise we it may never have evolved in the first place and you will not read these words.





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