Scientists Discover Jupiter-like Planet Where a Year is Only 16 Hours

Imagine living on a planet where every 16 hours marks a new year. The planet identified as TOI-2109b has the shortest orbit of any known gas giant to date. The findings made by the international team of scientists was published in the Astronomical Journal. This makes TOI-2109b, the second hottest planet detected so far.

It was on May 13, 2020, that NASA’s TESS satellite began observing TOI-2109b, located in the southern portion of the Hercules constellation, which is 855 light years from Earth. Researchers collected measurements of the star’s light, which they then analysed for periodic dips in starlight that might indicate a planet passing in front of and briefly blocking a small fraction of the star’s light. The data from TESS confirmed that the star does host an object that transits about every 16 hours.

Scientists also speculate that TOI-2109b is in the process of “orbital decay,” or spiraling into its star. Considering its extremely short orbit, researchers predict that the planet may spiral toward its star faster than other hot Jupiters. Ian Wong, lead author of the discovery, who was a post doctorate at MIT during the study, said in a statement, “In one or two years, if we are lucky, we may be able to detect how the planet moves closer to its star.” Wong further said that the planet will not crash into its star in our lifetime, though adding, “but give it another 10 million years, and this planet might not be there.”

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