Giant 'Mirror' Planets Found in First-of-Its-Kind Experiment
If confirmed, the shiny new worlds may help astronomers better understand how strange planets known as hot Jupiters are created.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CaliforniaPlanets orbiting other stars are running out of ways to hide.
For the first time, astronomers have used reflected starlight to tease out the possible presence of 60 large, roasted worlds. As those planets traipse around their stars, they act like large alien mirrors and briefly bounce a bit of extra starlight toward Earth, causing a small but measurable increase in their systems’ brightness.
The discoveries still need to be independently confirmed using a different planet-hunting method. But if even some of the worlds are really there, they could have an important story to tell about how such hot, Jupiter-size planets form.
“You see a brightening when the planet moves behind the star because at that point, you’re seeing its day side,”