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January 18, 2011

New Insight on the Effect of Tides between Stars and Planets

Researchers in Spain have just discovered a huge planet orbiting a pulsating star in the constellation of Andromeda. The star (WASP-33) is about 1.5 times the mass of the sun, and it is special because it pulsates radially and non-radially. These researchers also discovered a huge planet (WASP-33b) orbiting this star. The planet has over four times the mass of Jupiter, but it orbits the star almost twenty times closer than Mercury orbits the Sun. Scientists think that this huge body orbiting so close to the star could be the cause of the star's unique pulsating, a relationship which has never before been observed. Scientists say that this discovery "represents a landmark in the world of exoplanets since it may provide vital information on pulsations modes that occur in stars, the effects of tides between stars and planets, and the dynamical evolution of planetary systems". (Herrero et al, 2011)

More information can be found at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118122548.htm

Journal Reference:
E. Herrero, J. C. Morales, I. Ribas, R. Naves. WASP-33: the first δ Scuti exoplanet host star. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2011; 526: L10

Posted by emslade at January 18, 2011 04:37 PM


It is impressive that one find can be so beneficial in many areas of astronomy. I wasn't sure what it meant for a star to pulsate radially and non-radially, so I looked it up. Apparently, radial pulsation is "a form of pulsation in which a star expands and contracts symmetrically over its whole surface. The changes in radius are accompanied by variations in brightness, surface temperature, and spectrum." That would be amazing to see.


Posted by: hartadam at January 20, 2011 11:17 AM

This is definitely a very exciting and impressive discovery! I was also interested in what the meaning of pulsation was, and once I looked it up, I was even more intrigued with this new found planet orbiting this star. Is this the first star with an orbiting planet that astronomers have found to be pulsating? I wonder how they are sure this entity is for sure a planet, because they compare it to Jupitar, which was found not to be a planet after all. Does this new "planet" have all the necessary characteristics? I am curious to find out more about this discovery!

Posted by: skritt at January 25, 2011 07:40 PM

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