A Jupiter-like planet located 520 light-years from Earth may be an unlikely survivor, as researchers believe it should have been destroyed. Scientists have discovered the reason why the planet known as “8 Ursae Minoris b” has survived, reports CNN.
The planet “8 Ursae Minoris b” was identified in 2015 in the Milky Way. The exoplanet orbits a giant star larger than our sun called Baekdu, located in the constellation of Ursa Minor, or “The Little Bear.” The “hot Jupiter” exoplanet called Halla may have orbited two stars at the same time. Interactions between the two stars may have helped Halla survive a stellar explosion.
Scientists explain their theories by talking about the fate of our solar system. Earth and the other planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, a star filled with burning gases. The Sun is currently what is called a yellow dwarf and is burning hydrogen, but one day it will start to die. When this happens, it will become a red giant and expand significantly, consuming Mercury, Venus and possibly Earth.
That destruction by an expanding star is exactly what should have happened to 8 Ursae Minoris b. But a companion star appears to have saved the planet, explains Marc Hon, who made the observations using the TESS space telescope.
Now, astronomers are trying to determine whether it is possible for the planet to withstand such a cataclysmic stellar event. Scientists believe that gas giants like Jupiter’s hot exoplanets begin orbiting at a greater distance from their host stars before eventually migrating closer. But that may not be the case for Halla, which orbits a rapidly evolving star.