Thursday, 29 August, 2013
UNSW Astronomers have found a hot bloated planet, twice as big as Jupiter, which is circling its star in a rare polar orbit - a find that raises questions about how planets form.
The discovery is reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Lead author, Brett Addison, of the UNSW School of Physics, says planets usually orbit in the same plane and direction as their host star's rotation.
"A polar orbit is quite unusual. This is something that you wouldn't really expect according to planet formation models," he says.
The planet belongs to a group of worlds known as hot Jupiters, large gas giants that orbit extremely close to their host stars. WASP-79b takes just three-and-a-half days to orbit its star.
Read a full report on the research at ABC Science.