A team of astronomers has discovered a scorching hot exoplanet orbiting its parent star in just 16 hours. To make a quick comparison, “our” Jupiter takes 12 years to complete its orbit around the sun. The discovery was made by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission directed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The exoplanet, 855 million light-years from Earth, belongs to a category of worlds known as “Hot Jupiters,” News Week reported.

However, this exoplanet, called TOI-2109b, is a gas giant with a mass around five times that of Jupiter and a 16-hour orbital period around its star, making it the shortest known orbit of any discovered hot Jupiter. Because of its proximity, it is also the second hottest exoplanet of this type ever found. On the day side, TOI-2109b is estimated to have a temperature of 3,500 degrees kelvin.

On May 13, 2020, TESS began observing TOI-2109 in the Hercules constellation’s southern region.

The so-called “transit method” of exoplanet detection is used by TESS to detect exoplanets by looking for tiny dips in light as they cross the face of their parent star.

At the time of the discovery of TOI-2109b, Ian Wong, who was a post-doctorate at MIT, was the lead author of a paper published in The Astronomical Journal that details the research.

“In a year or two, if we’re lucky, we may be able to detect how the planet approaches its star,” said Wong. “Throughout our life we will not be able to see the planet being swallowed by its star, but within the next 10 million years it may no longer be there.”

The planet is tidally locked, which means it has a blisteringly hot dayside and a cooler nightside that astronomers are still trying to figure out.

“Meanwhile, the planet’s night side brightness is below the sensitivity of the TESS data, which raises questions about what is really happening there,” Avi Shporer, a research scientist at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said. “Is the temperature there very cold, or does the planet somehow take heat on the dayside and transfer it to the night side? We’re at the beginning of trying to answer this question for these ultrahot Jupiters.”

The team now intends to examine TOI-2109b using the Hubble Space Telescope or perhaps the James Webb Space Telescope, which will launch in December.

“Ultra-hot Jupiters such as TOI-2109b constitute the most extreme subclass of exoplanets. We have just begun to understand some of the physical and chemical processes that occur in their atmospheres: processes that have no similar in our solar system “, says Wong.

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