Although first detected 20 years ago, hot Jupiters are still enigmatic bodies. These celestial objects are giant Jupiter-like exoplanets that orbit 20 times closer to their host stars than the Earth does to the Sun. Using the ESPaDOnS spectro-polarimeter on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the Matysse(1) team led by Dr J.-F. Donati (Toulouse, CNRS) reports the preliminary evidence that a hot Jupiter orbits a 2-My star of the Taurus star forming region. This planet, yet to be confirmed, has a mass of 1.4 Jupiter mass and a 6-day period orbit and is unveiled by the gravitational pull it imprints on its star(2), once the stellar activity features are modeled. This discovery(3) could help us better understand how planetary systems like (or unlike) the solar system form and evolve into maturity. This could also be the first exoplanet ever revealed by CFHT, a nice introduction to the coming SPIRou(4) planet search survey.
In our solar system, rocky planets like the Earth or Mars are found near the Sun whereas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn orbit much further out. "Hence the surprise in 1995 when Mayor & Queloz first unveiled a giant planet sitting very close to its host star" says Dr C. Moutou, CNRS astronomer at CFHT and co-author of this new study. Since then, astronomers demonstrated that such planets must form in the outer regions of the protoplanetary disc, then migrate inwards and yet avoid falling into their host star. This could happen either very early in their lives, when still embedded within their primordial disc. Or much later, once multiple planets are formed and mutually interact in a rather unstable choreography - with some being pushed inwards at the immediate vicinity of their stars.
- This press release is also available as a pdf file with complementary illustrations.
Dr. Claire Moutou (CFHT, Hawaii)
Dr. Lison Malo (CFHT, Hawaii)
Dr. Jean-Francois Donati (IRAP, Toulouse, France)