As astronomers discover greater numbers of planets orbiting other stars, they are able to revise their theorie sof planet formation accordingly. Exotic planets are particularly prized because they push the boundaries of theoretical understanding to its limits.
Today, Leslie Hebb at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and colleagues announce the discovery of one of the most exotic planets yet seen. WASP-12b orbits a star about 3 times as bright as the sun. Its orbit has a radius about 1.8 times that of Jupiter but it is only about a quarter as dense.
But get this. WASP-12b has an orbital period of only 1.09 days, the shortest ever seen, and a surface temperature of 2516 K because it is the most highly radiated planet ever discovered. That’s too records for one planet.
How these kinds of planets can form, nobody is certain. But one thing’s for sure: WASP-12b must be on one helluva roller coaster ride.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0812.3240: WASP-12b: the Hottest Transiting Extra-Solar Planet Yet Discovered