Discovery of a “potato-shaped” planet, about 1.8 k light years from the solar system

New Delhi | Jagran Trend Office: In a first, astronomers have announced a planet that exists in the rather unusual shape of a potato. A planet resembling the shape of a potato was discovered a few years ago. The planet named WASP-103b is located in the constellation “Hercules”, at a distance of about 1,800 light years from the solar system.

According to the AFP news agency, WASP-103b is at a close distance from its star WASP-103, which is about 50 times closer to its sun than Earth is to its sun, since the cycle of the planet takes only 22 hours, while the Earth’s cycle lasts 365 days.

Using the European Space Agency’s CHEOPS mission and data from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the team pieced together the odd shape of WASP-103b. They first discovered this unusually shaped planet in 2014.

“WASP-103b is the exoplanet with the highest expected strain signature in its transit light curve and one of the shortest expected spiral times,” said a study published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The study added that measuring the planet’s tidal warp would allow it to estimate the second-degree fluid love number and better understand the internal structure of WASP-103.

The love number, a dimensionless parameter that measures the rigidity of a planetary body, shows that WASP-103b is similar to Jupiter, according to the study.

“This will allow the internal structure and composition of WASP-103b to be constrained, which could provide clues to the inflation of hot Jupiters,” he added.

AFP further reported that scientists assume WASP-103b has a solid core, covered by a liquid layer and surrounded by a gaseous atmosphere – just like Jupiter.

Susanna Barros, an astrophysicist at the University of Porto, Portugal, pointed out that if this planet is 1.5 times more massive than Jupiter, then its radius is twice as large. Barros predicts that WASP-103b will be very puffy due to the heat of its star as well as other mechanisms.

Additionally, the report further states that the James Webb Space Telescope could examine WASP-103b and similar tidal-stressed planets to better understand them.

Arline J. Mercier