The Super Earths
01- K-11
02- Migrating Worlds
03- Gliese 581
04- Goldilocks
05- 51 Pegasi
06- Doppler Effect
07- Rhythmic Shift
08- Eccentric Giants
09- Transitters
10- Mu Arae
11- Intermediate World
12- Worlds Observed
13- Extra Solar Earths
14- Migrant Worlds
15- Accretion
16- Core Accretion
17- Disk Erosion
18- Planetary Embryos
19- The Protected Zone
20- Ecosphere
21- Ecosphere II
22- Beta Pictoris
23- Vanquishing Starlight
24- Red Edge / Earth Shine
25- Distant Continents
26- The Age of Stars
   

08 - Eccentric Giants

Click here for enlarged diagram

 

Pulled by this unseen planet, the star 51 Pegasi approaches and recedes from Earth every 4.2 days. The planet, a gas giant like our Jupiter or Saturn, is called 51 Peg b for its parent star. Its 4.2 day orbit is an orbit incredibly close for a gas planet and, as noted, most of the exoplanets so far found are large gas planets, with the exception of a few, like Gliese 581.

Theorists believed that, like Jupiter, giant gas planets would only be found far from their stars in orbits taking years to complete. But as astronomers have watched more stars, more gas planets have been turning up in extremely close orbits or on wildly eccentric paths, some in weirdly elongated orbits and others so close to their star that they circle it in days or even hours.

These worlds are called ROASTERS or ECCENTRIC GIANTS

 
  Alan Lambert 2011