Apr 13, 2020

Bizarre Exoplanets Orbiting Binary Stars May Have Strangely Misaligned Orbits

Posted by in categories: entertainment, space

There’s an iconic scene in the original Star Wars movie where Luke Skywalker looks out over the desert landscape of Tatooine at the amazing spectacle of a double sunset.

Now, a new study out of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) suggests that such exotic exoplanet worlds orbiting multiple stars may exist in misaligned orbits, far out of the primary orbital plane.

The find has implications for planetary formation in complex multiple star systems. The study used ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) in Chile to look at 19 protoplanetary disks around binary stars with longer period orbits, versus a dozen binary stars known to host exoplanets with periods less than 40 days found in the Kepler space telescope observations.

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