Cosmic Star Celebrates Valentine's Day With 'Heartbeat' Signals
If you are single on Valentine's Day, you would be sad to know that a planet and its host star may have a better love story than you. After analyzing 350 hours of Spitzer data, scientists discovered a love story written in the cosmos:
According to the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Spitzer Space Telescope was able to detect "heartbeat-like" pulsations in the outer shell of the HAT-P-2 star. These most likely came from a closely orbiting planet.
Julien de Wit of the Massachusetts Institute of Technolgy told NASA that they discovered the first example of a planet that seems to have caused a heartbeat-like behavior in its host star. It is just in time for Valentine's Day. It seems that the agency concluded the rare "romance" of the celestial beings can be detected from 370 lightyears away.
AJC.com noted that the planet is usually relatively far from its star. However, it comes nearer every 5.6 days and with it comes what is similar to a "kiss" that causes its star to "beat like a heart." However, since the planet and star cannot simply fall in love, the agency offered a less romantic notion. When the gravity is near the star, the planet's gravity hits with a bell-like approach that makes it ring throughout orbit.
Still, the planetary system remains a mystery. Co-author Jim Fuller predicted the vibrations to be more quieter than the frequency found by the Spitzer, leading him to believe that he and his team need to study more stars in systems similar to the HAT-P-2 and its planets. These could have stories to tell through their "heartbeats."
Study co-author Heather Knutson of the California Institute of Technology also said in a statement, "It's remarkable that this relatively small planet seems to affect the whole star in a way that we can see from far away."