Studying distant planets has helped scientists better explain how the universe ticks, but sometimes a discovery produces more questions than it answers. Such is the case with a far-off star called CoRoT-2 and the gigantic gaseous planet that closely orbits it. The planet, called CoRoT-2b, is considered a "hot Jupiter" because it's a gas giant that has a very close relationship with its host star. We've seen hot Jupiter exoplanets before, so that's not particularly interesting, but after astronomers took a closer look at the planet they've discovered something truly bizarre: CoRoT-2b is hot in all the wrong places.
When a planet is tidally locked, as CoRoT-2b is, it shows one face to its star at all times. CoRoT-2b has a permanent light and dark side thanks to its tidal lock, and when that happens scientists expect that the hottest spot on the planet is the point that is always closest to its star, or in some cases a bit to the east thanks to strong winds. With CoRoT-2b, that simply isn't the case and the hot spot isn't in the center or the east, but rather to the west.
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Astronomers discovered a massive ‘hot Jupiter’ but can’t figure out how it works originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 23 Jan 2018 at 11:08:57 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.