The unusual orbit of a warm Jupiter pointed to the turbulent past of the star system

Astronomers discovered a previously unknown gas giant the size of Jupiter. It orbits a distant sun-like star.

Warm Jupiter in the artist’s image. Source: Detlev Van Ravenswaay/Science Photo Library

The discovery was made during the analysis of data collected by the TESS telescope. It searches for extrasolar worlds by looking for changes in the brightness of stars caused by their transits. The newly found exoplanet was designated TOI-4515 b. It orbits a star of spectral class G, located at a distance of 632 light-years from Earth. This is a fairly young star, estimated to be 1.2 billion years old.

As for the exoplanet discovered by TESS, its radius is 1.09 times that of Jupiter, and its mass is 2.01 Jupiter masses. This gives an average body density of 1.95 g/cm3.

The orbital period of TOI-4515 b is 15 days. It moves in a rather elongated orbit, which passes at an average distance of 0.12 AU (18 million km) from its star. Because of this, the atmosphere of the exoplanet is heated to a temperature of 430 °C, which is comparable to the surface temperature of Mercury. Astronomers classify such bodies as warm Jupiters.

According to scientists, the high eccentricity of the orbit of TOI-4515 b and its relatively high density can be explained by the turbulent past of this system, accompanied by collisions of planets. It is possible that several gas giants have formed around the star. After the protoplanetary disk dissipated, gravitational interactions between them led to TOI-4515 b moving into its current elongated orbit.

According to

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