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Beyond Earthly Skies

Bow Shock of a Speeding Hot Jupiter

20 Jun 2016, 22:00 UTC
Bow Shock of a Speeding Hot Jupiter
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When a planet moves supersonically through the stellar wind or coronal plasma of its host star, a bow shock can form where the pressure between the plasma and the planet's magnetosphere balances out. This is generally ahead of the planet, in the direction of the planet's motion around its host star. If the planet has a strong magnetic field, the bow shock can be displaced several planetary radii ahead of the planet. Material from the stellar wind of the planet's host star can pile up at the bow shock. If the material is compressed sufficiently, the line-of-sight column density of the material in the bow shock can become high enough to generate a visible absorption signature. Furthermore, if the planet transits its host star, the visible absorption signature of the bow shock can be detected prior to the main transit event.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a hot Jupiter.HD 189733b is a transiting hot Jupiter in a close-in orbit around its host star. It is 13 percent more massive than Jupiter and it orbits its host star once every 2.2 days. HD 189733b whizzes around its host star at 152.5 km/s. At this enormous speed, HD 189733b is moving supersonically through ...

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