Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO WORLDS
Chandra Sees Eclipsing Planet in X-rays for First Time
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jul 30, 2013


Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Poppenhaeger et al; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss. For a larger version of this image please go here.

For the first time since exoplanets, or planets around stars other than the sun, were discovered almost 20 years ago, X-ray observations have detected an exoplanet passing in front of its parent star.

An advantageous alignment of a planet and its parent star in the system HD 189733, which is 63 light-years from Earth, enabled NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM Newton Observatory to observe a dip in X-ray intensity as the planet transited the star.

"Thousands of planet candidates have been seen to transit in only optical light," said Katja Poppenhaeger of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass., who led a new study to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

"Finally being able to study one in X-rays is important because it reveals new information about the properties of an exoplanet."

The team used Chandra to observe six transits and data from XMM Newton observations of one.

The planet, known as HD 189733b, is a hot Jupiter, meaning it is similar in size to Jupiter in our solar system but in very close orbit around its star. HD 189733b is more than 30 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. It orbits the star once every 2.2 days.

HD 189733b is the closest hot Jupiter to Earth, which makes it a prime target for astronomers who want to learn more about this type of exoplanet and the atmosphere around it. They have used NASA's Kepler space telescope to study it at optical wavelengths, and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to confirm it is blue in color as a result of the preferential scattering of blue light by silicate particles in its atmosphere.

The study with Chandra and XMM Newton has revealed clues to the size of the planet's atmosphere. The spacecraft saw light decreasing during the transits. The decrease in X-ray light was three times greater than the corresponding decrease in optical light.

"The X-ray data suggest there are extended layers of the planet's atmosphere that are transparent to optical light but opaque to X-rays," said co-author Jurgen Schmitt of Hamburger Sternwarte in Hamburg, Germany. "However, we need more data to confirm this idea."

The researchers also are learning about how the planet and the star can affect one another.

Astronomers have known for about a decade ultraviolet and X-ray radiation from the main star in HD 189733 are evaporating the atmosphere of HD 189733b over time. The authors estimate it is losing 100 million to 600 million kilograms of mass per second. HD 189733b's atmosphere appears to be thinning 25 percent to 65 percent faster than it would be if the planet's atmosphere were smaller.

"The extended atmosphere of this planet makes it a bigger target for high-energy radiation from its star, so more evaporation occurs," said co-author Scott Wolk, also of CfA.

The main star in HD 189733 also has a faint red companion, detected for the first time in X-rays with Chandra. The stars likely formed at the same time, but the main star appears to be 3 billion to 3 1/2 billion years younger than its companion star because it rotates faster, displays higher levels of magnetic activity and is about 30 times brighter in X-rays than its companion.

"This star is not acting its age, and having a big planet as a companion may be the explanation," said Poppenhaeger. "It's possible this hot Jupiter is keeping the star's rotation and magnetic activity high because of tidal forces, making it behave in some ways like a much younger star."

The paper is available online here.

.


Related Links
Chandra at NASA
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO WORLDS
A warmer planetary haven around cool stars, as ice warms rather than cools
Seattle WA (SPX) Jul 29, 2013
In a bit of cosmic irony, planets orbiting cooler stars may be more likely to remain ice-free than planets around hotter stars. This is due to the interaction of a star's light with ice and snow on the planet's surface. Stars emit different types of light. Hotter stars emit high-energy visible and ultraviolet light, and cooler stars give off infrared and near-infrared light, which has a mu ... read more


EXO WORLDS
Environmental Controls Move Beyond Earth

Bad night's sleep? The moon could be to blame

Moon Base and Beyond

First-ever lunar south pole mission could be attempted by 2016

EXO WORLDS
Mars Rover Opportunity Nears Solander Point

Curiosity Mars Rover Gleams in View from Orbiter

Mars Curiosity sets one-day driving distance record

Scientists establish age of Mars meteorites found on Earth

EXO WORLDS
Tenth Parachute Test for NASA's Orion Adds 10,000 Feet of Success

Zero Point Frontiers Delivers Favorable Architecture Assessment to Golden Spike Company

NASA and Korean Space Agency Discuss Space Cooperation

NASA Advanced Technology Concepts Selected for Study

EXO WORLDS
China launches three experimental satellites

Medical quarantine over for Shenzhou-10 astronauts

China's astronauts ready for longer missions

Chinese probe reaches record height in space travel

EXO WORLDS
Unmanned Russian cargo craft lands in Pacific Ocean

Russian supply ship docks with orbiting space station

ISS Research Exposing the Salty Truth of Supercritical Water Transitions

NASA launches new probe of spacesuit failure

EXO WORLDS
The second satellite arrives for Arianespace's upcoming heavy-lift Ariane 5 launch

Arianespace's heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission orbits key satellite payloads for Europe and India

Three Soyuz launchers are at the Spaceport for Arianespace's upcoming medium-lift missions from French Guiana

Flawless launch of Alphasat, Europe's largest and most sophisticated telecom satellite

EXO WORLDS
Chandra Sees Eclipsing Planet in X-rays for First Time

A warmer planetary haven around cool stars, as ice warms rather than cools

Solar system's youth gives clues to planet search

Snow falling around infant solar system

EXO WORLDS
US Lawmaker Seeks to Partner with Russia to Clean Up Space

Superfluid turbulence through the lens of black holes

Perfecting digital imaging

Ancient technology for metal coatings 2,000 years ago can't be matched even today




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement