The planet in question is HD 80606b, which circles a star about 200 light years from Earth. This is a highly interesting place, some four times the mass of Jupiter and moving within a 111-day orbit around its star. What makes it stand out is the incredible eccentricity of its orbit. We're talking about a world that for most of its orbit is at distances that would be between Venus and Earth here in our system. But then it swoops in ever closer to its primary until it closes to within 0.03 AU, an encounter it experiences for less than a day.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
So near, so far
Most Accurate Exoplanet Image Yet