Most Exoplanetary Solar Systems Have Inclined Orbits

Illustration of the HAT-P-11 System Based on Observations from Subaru Telescope. The planet orbits the star in a highly inclined orbit.

>From a press release by the Subaru Telescope and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan:

A research team led by astronomers from the University of Tokyo and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has discovered that inclined orbits may be typical rather than rare for exoplanetary systems — those outside of our solar system. Their measurements of the angles between the axes of the star’s rotation (stellar rotational axis) and the planet’s orbit (planetary orbital axis) of exoplanets HAT-P-11b and XO-4b demonstrate that these exoplanets’ orbits are highly tilted. This is the first time that scientists have measured the angle for a small planet like HAT-P-11 b. The new findings provide important observational indicators for testing different theoretical models of how the orbits of planetary systems have evolved. (…) Read the rest of Most Exoplanetary Solar Systems Have Inclined Orbits (1,068 words)

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