from the just-like-global-warming dept.
SpuriousLogic writes "Scientists have discovered a planet that shouldn't exist. The finding, they say, could alter our understanding of orbital dynamics, a field considered pretty well settled since the time of astronomer Johannes Kepler 400 years ago.
The planet is known as a 'hot Jupiter,' a gas giant orbiting the star Wasp-18, about 330 light years from Earth. The planet, Wasp-18b, is so close to the star that it completes a full orbit (its "year") in less than an Earth day, according to the research, which was published in the journal Nature.
Of the more than 370 exoplanets — planets orbiting stars other than our sun — discovered so far, this is just the second with such a close orbit.
The problem is that a planet that close should be consumed by its parent star in less than a million years, say the authors at Keele University in England. The star Wasp-18 is believed to be about a billion years old, and since stars and the planets around them are thought to form at the same time, Wasp-18b should have been reduced to cinders ages ago."
We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a
clever but highly unmotivated trick.
-- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"