FANTASTIC COINCIDENCE: A PLANET THAT SHOULDN’T BE THERE AT ALL via Aarhus University

SAC scientists have discovered a new giant exoplanet orbiting a subgiant star so close that the planet ought to have been destroyed by tidal forces – but it isn’t – at least not yet!

Scientists working at the Stellar Astrophysics Centre have discovered a new giant exoplanet, which orbits a subgiant star. Such stars have evolved to become several times larger than the Sun. Around subgiant stars, only a few short-period planets are known, and some scientists have speculated this may be because planets get tidally destroyed as the star evolves and grows larger. The new planet, named K2-39b, orbits extremely close to its host star: it orbits at a distance of only 1.7 times the diameter of the star! By comparison, the Earth is more than 100 solar diameters away from the Sun. On the other hand, the subgiant star hosting the planet is almost four times larger than the Sun.

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