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Astronomers have captured one of the most extreme hot Jupiters among the 400 on record. At five times the mass of Jupiter, it circles its star in 16 hours, the shortest known orbit in its class.

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Due to its extremely tight orbit and its proximity to its star, the day side of the planet is estimated to be around 3,500 Kelvin, or close to 3,300 degrees Celsius, almost as hot as a small star. This makes the planet, designated TOI-2109b, the second hottest detected so far.

Judging from its properties, astronomers believe TOI-2109b is in the process of “orbital decay,” or spiraling towards its starLike bath water running down the drain. Its extremely short orbit is predicted to cause the planet to spiral toward its star faster than other hot Jupiters.

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The discovery, which was initially made by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Study Satellite (TESS), a mission led by MIT, presents a unique opportunity for astronomers to study how the planets behave when they are drawn and swallowed by their star.

“In one or two years, if we are lucky, we will be able to detect how the planet is approaching its star”, says in a statement Ian Wong, lead author of the discovery, who was a postdoc at MIT during the study and has since transferred to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “In our lifetime we will not see the planet fall into its star. But give it another 10 million years and this planet might not be there “adds Wong, whose study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

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The star TOI-2109 is located in the southern part of the constellation Hercules, about 855 light years from Earth. Hot Jupiter TOI-2109b is about five times more massive than Jupiter, about 35% larger, and extremely close to its star, at a distance of about 2.2 million kilometers. Mercury, in comparison, It is about 45 million kilometers from the Sun.

The planet’s star is about 50% larger in size and mass compared to our Sun. From the observed properties of the system, the researchers estimated that TOI-2109b is spiraling toward its star at a speed of 10 to 750 milliseconds per year, faster than any hot Jupiter observed so far.

Like most hot Jupiters, the planet appears to be tidal-locked, with a perpetual day and night side, similar to the Moon relative to Earth.

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