Like Earth, most of the planets we know are shaped like spheres, with the exception of Jupiter, which has several rings around it. Still, Jupiter also looks like Earth. But are all planets spherical, including planets outside our solar system? According to the new research paper, the answer is no. It says it is of course possible that some planets may look like potatoes. Researchers have discovered a planet named WASP-103b, about 1,500 light-years away from Earth. They say it’s shaped like a potato or rugby ball.
But why does it have this strange shape? According to astronomers, WASP-103b is located around F-type stars and is larger and heavier than the Sun. The planet is also large, about 1.5 times larger than Jupiter. However, the relative proximity of the planet to its homestar is the cause of its anomalous shape.
According to this study, published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, WASP-103b is only 20,000 miles away from the homestar, which can cause tidal stress and lead to unexpected shapes. By comparison, the distance between the Earth and its home star, the Sun, is about 93 million miles.
The Earth takes a year to orbit the sun and other planets of our solar system. Also, it will take at least months or years to complete one revolution of the sun. However, there are several exoplanets called “Hot Jupiter” that orbit their homestars in days and hours. The orbital period of WASP-103b is only 22 hours.
“It’s unbelievable that Cheops was actually able to reveal this small variant,” study co-author Jack Lasker said in a statement.
Using ESA’s CHEOPS satellite, researchers have concluded on the shape of the WASP-103b rugby ball based on data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.
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https://gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/planet-potato-rugby-ball-wasp-103b-astronomer-host-sun-proximity-esa-nasa-hubble-2709321#rss-gadgets-all Astronomers discover a potato-shaped planet 1500 light-years away from Earth