HomeAstronomyDiscovery of alien world with tilted orbit puzzles astronomers

Discovery of alien world with tilted orbit puzzles astronomers

The orbit of an exoplanet around a star in a binary star system has been portrayed in three dimensions for the first time. The planet orbits its star at a different angle to the plane of the orbit of the two stars, and the misalignment could offer clues as to how planets form in binary systems.

The exoplanet, GJ 896Ab (note the lower case b for the planet), was found in the binary system GJ 896AB (note the capital A and B for the two stars) that is located 20.3 light-years away from Earth. Astronomers tracked the motion of the binary star system through space with the help of archived optical observations dating from 1941 to 2017, with extra data covering 2006 to 2011 gathered by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which is a network of 10 radio telescopes strung across the United States. The researchers also made new observations with the VLBA in 2020. 

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