Meet the Ploonets
Our Moon may not always be the companion dedicated to the Earth that she is now.
An international team of researchers has proposed a new type of hypothetical world that he calls a "ploonet": an ancient moon that has escaped the orbit of its host planet and has begun to circle its host star.
The team believes that the ploonets could explain several unusual astronomical phenomena – and that our own Moon might one day join their ranks.
Hot Jupiters are a class of exoplanets that revolve around their host stars. However, some astronomers believe that they may have actually formed on the periphery of their solar system and migrated inward.
In an article still peer reviewed published on the pre-print server arXiv, the researchers detail their simulations of what could happen if a hot Jupiter started this migration with an exomoon in tow.
Based on their simulations, about 48% of the exomoons would detach from their hot Jupiters and start rotating their stars into orbit instead – as ploonets.
Theory of certain things
The team believes that the ploonets could explain several unusual astronomical phenomena.
The water of an icy moon could evaporate by escaping the orbit of its planet and moving towards its star, for example, by giving the ploonet a comet-shaped tail. The passage of such a band through its star could explain why some stars seem to sparkle.
At the same time, an aircraft that may have crashed on its former host could create debris that could explain the strange rings found around some exoplanets.
"These structures [rings and flickers] have been discovered, observed, "said researcher Mario Sucerquia Scientific news. "We are simply proposing a natural mechanism to explain [them]. "
Ploonethood could also explain why astronomers have not yet found any exonism, despite predictions that the universe would be invading – moons could be expelled from their planetary orbits before we can detect them. If we see the old moons after this point, we could just take them for new exoplanets.
Based on the simulations of the researchers, the ploonets also have an incredibly short life span, astronomically speaking: about 50% of them crashed on their star or their host planet in the space of 39. half a million years, while others suffer the same fate after less than a million years of life. could further explain why we did not find any.
As for the own Earth, Sucerquia said Scientific news that it is a "potential ploonet", insofar as it moves away each year about 4 centimeters from the Earth. But we do not have to worry about it, it will not be released any time soon – at this rate, it will not be released from Earth's orbit for about 5 billion years.
READ MORE: Moons that escape their planets could become "ploonets"[[[[Scientific news]
More on the exomoons: Researchers believe they have discovered the first moon outside our solar system