How planets can be an anti-aging formula for stars.

An artist’s illustration shows a gas giant planet (lower right) closely orbiting its host star (left), with another star in the distance (upper right). The two stars are themselves in orbit with each other. As explained in our latest press release, a team of scientists used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton to test whether such exoplanets (known as “hot Jupiters”) affect their host star in comparison to the star that does not have one. The results show that these exoplanets can make their host star act younger than it is by causing the star to spin more quickly than it would without such a planet. The double-star (or “binary”) system in the illustration is one of dozens that astronomers studied using Chandra and XMM-Newton to look for the effects of hot Jupiters on their host stars. A hot Jupiter can potentially influence its host star by tidal forces, causing the star to spin more quickly than if it did not have such a planet. This more rapid rotation can make the host star more active and produce more X-rays, making it appear younger than it really is. Credit: arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2203.13637
An artist’s illustration shows a gas giant planet (lower right) closely orbiting its host star (left), with another star in the distance (upper right). The two stars are themselves in orbit with each other. As explained in our latest press release, a team of scientists used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton to test whether such exoplanets (known as “hot Jupiters”) affect their host star in comparison to the star that does not have one. The results show that these exoplanets can make their host star act younger than it is by causing the star to spin more quickly than it would without such a planet. The double-star (or “binary”) system in the illustration is one of dozens that astronomers studied using Chandra and XMM-Newton to look for the effects of hot Jupiters on their host stars. A hot Jupiter can potentially influence its host star by tidal forces, causing the star to spin more quickly than if it did not have such a planet. This more rapid rotation can make the host star more active and produce more X-rays, making it appear younger than it really is. Credit: arXiv (2022). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2203.13637

 

According to a recent analysis of many systems using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, planets may make their host stars seem younger than their actual age. This might be the strongest proof yet that certain planets seem to decrease the aging of their host stars.

Although "hot Jupiters" (gas giant exoplanets that circle a star at Mercury's distance or closer) have been seen to have anti-aging properties previously, this discovery is the first time it has been systematically recorded, offering the most compelling evidence yet for this unusual phenomena.

Nikoleta Ilic, the research's lead author from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) in Germany, said that in order to determine if an impact is genuine or an anomaly, a study with a large number of patients is necessary. This work offers us the assurance that these hot Jupiters are truly making the stars they orbit act younger than they are, which is also true in astronomy.

By exerting tidal pressures, a hot Jupiter may cause its host star to spin more swiftly than it would without the planet. As a result of its faster spin, the host star may become more active and emit more X-rays, which are often characteristics of a young star.

But much as with people, a star's vitality depends on a variety of things. As stars become older, their activity and spinning will slow down and they will have fewer outbursts. Astronomers have had difficulty determining whether a star is exceptionally active because it is being influenced by a nearby planet, making it seem younger than it is, or because it is genuinely young since it is difficult to establish the ages of most stars.

Ilic's latest Chandra research focused on double-star (or "binary") systems, where only one of the stars has a hot Jupiter circling it and the stars are considerably apart from one another. The stars in binary systems all develop at the same moment, exactly like human twins, according to astronomers. The distance between the stars is much too great for them to interact or for the hot Jupiter to have any impact on the other star. This indicates that they may utilize the system's star devoid of planets as a control.

According to co-author Katja Poppenhaeger, also of AIP, "it's almost like employing twins in a research where one twin lives in a totally different area that impacts their health." The behavior of two stars of the same age may be studied by contrasting one with a neighboring planet to its counterpart without one.

How "young" a celebrity is behaving was determined by the researchers using the quantity of X-rays. They studied almost thirty systems in X-rays, looking for signs of planet-to-star interaction (the final sample included 10 systems viewed by Chandra and six by ESA's XMM-Newton, with some observed by both). They discovered that stars with hot Jupiters tended to be more active than their partner stars without hot Jupiters because they were brighter in X-rays.

According to co-author Marzieh Hosseini, also of AIP, "in past situations there were some very fascinating signals, but now we finally have statistical proof that certain planets are definitely impacting their stars and keeping them behaving youthful." Hopefully, additional systems will be uncovered by future research to help us better understand this impact.

The Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society's July 2022 edition included an article outlining these findings. The arXiv pre-print service also has a complete previous version of the work.

Also Read: Hubble telescope peeks through 'cosmic keyhole' in stunning photo.


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