Astronomers have found an exoplanet that orbits its host star every 18 hours – a new record! Exoplanet NGTS-10 b has twice the mass of Jupiter, and orbits so close to its class K6V orange dwarf host star that the star’s gravity will flatten the planet into an oblate spheroid. The planet is classified as a “Hot Jupiter” – with the star-facing side of the planet being incandescently bright! Using data from the announcement paper on arXiv.org and The Extrasolar Planet Encyclopaedia, I added the star and exoplanet into SpaceEngine and took some screenshots; I actually spent quite a bit of time fooling around in this system… I took some artistic liberty with the comet-like tail and wide auroras, but I figured being cooked by the star’s heat, and blasted by the star’s stellar wind will cause the planet’s atmosphere to expand WAY out and be blown away, so why not?! Over 4000 exoplanets have been confirmed as of this …Continue reading →
A group of Vatican Observatory Foundation friends accompanied by astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno and Dr. Faith Vilas were hosted by the European Southern Observatory on a magnificent tour of observatories and telescopes in Chile. The 12-day tour visited La Silla, Las Campanas, Paranal, and ALMA with evening star gazing to view the incredibly clear skies and some of the brightest stars on earth. Never has the Milky Way been so amazing!