Beta Pictoris b Clocked: ‘Speed Racer’ Planet with an 8-Hour Long Day

  • AUTHOR: fiona
  • POSTED ON: February 4, 2020

Astronomers have calculated the spinning rotation of an alien planet, Beta Pictoris b, for the first time ever. Measurements declare Beta Pictoris b to be the fastest spinning planet in the universe, having a rotation speed of 62,000 mph and an 8-hour long day.

In comparison with Jupiter, the equator of Beta Pictoris b is about ten times bigger and is moving at twice the speed of Jupiter, which makes Beta the fastest-spinning planet yet observed.

To examine Beta Pictoris b’s speed at 63 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pictor, researchers used European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

VLT detected the molecular fingerprint of carbon monoxide in the planet’s atmosphere. This carbon monoxide was later inspected and broadened with reference to the giant planet’s rotation.

Intriguingly, the day hours for Beta Pictoris b will reduce in future because the planet is just 20 million years old. This means that the planet will become cooler and shrink as it ages.

“It is not known why some planets spin fast and others more slowly, but this first measurement of an exoplanet’s rotation shows that the trend seen in the solar system, where the more massive planets spin faster, also holds true for exoplanets,” researchers said.

Astronomers are positive that this study can help them understand how planets evolve and form shapes. Until then, let’s wait for more science news and developments from this study.


Updated February 4, 2020
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