WASP-103b Potato Shaped Planet – Free PDF Download


  • Astronomers have finally announced that an exoplanet discovered a few years ago is somewhat similar to a potato.
  • The planet, named WASP-103b, is located in the constellation “Hercules”, at a distance of about 1,800 light-years from the solar system.

  • According to news agency AFP, WASP-103b is a close distance away from its star WASP-103, which is about 50 times closer to its sun than Earth is to its sun, to the extent that the planet’s cycle takes only 22 hours, while the Earth’s cycle takes 365 days.
  • Astronomers initially discovered this unusually shaped planet back in 2014.
  • Astronomers noted at the time that the planet must experience severe tidal stresses due to its proximity to its home star.
  • When it was discovered, scientists suspected it might have an unusual shape based on modeling, though it was unconfirmed — until now.

About WASP-103b

  • WASP-103b is the exoplanet with the highest expected deformation signature in its transit light curve and one of the shortest expected spiral-in times.
  • Measuring the tidal deformation of the planet would allow it to estimate the second-degree fluid Love number and gain insight into the internal structure of WASP-103.

What is Love Number?

  • A dimensionless parameter that measures the rigidity of a planetary body, shows WASP-103b is similar to Jupiter.

Major Predictions

  • scientists are assuming that WASP-103b has a solid core, covered with a liquid layer, and surrounded by a gaseous atmosphere – just like Jupiter.
  • If this planet is 1.5 times more massive than Jupiter, then its radius is twice as large.
  • WASP-103b will be very puffy because of the hotness of its star along with other mechanisms.

How Scientists did it?

  • Using the European Space Agency’s CHEOPS mission and data from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, the team pieced together the weird shape of WASP-103b.
  • The planet transits WASP-103 from our point of view — that is, passes in front of its home star.
  • This is one of the primary planet-hunting methods, wherein a telescope waits for an exoplanet to pass in front of a distant star and notes how much the star seems to dim.
  • The dimming can give a lot of info about the planet, including its size. But this study takes a different approach by also analyzing the light curves coming from WASP-103 to determine the shape of its planet.

Why It Matters?

  • To date, astronomers have discovered 4,884 planets — and have around 8,400 candidates they’re working their way through confirming.
  • These planets all come in different shapes, sizes, and configurations. Such a vast amount of data helps astronomers refine how planets form, and how systems like our own come to be — as well as challenging our assumptions.

  • This includes understanding the tidal stresses stars put on their planets. Most ultra-short period planets are doomed as their star siphons off material or otherwise rip them apart.
  • But in a weird twist, astronomers believe that WASP-103b is moving away from, rather than toward, WASP-103, potentially sparing it this nefarious fate.

Now What’s Next?

  • Further studies of WASP-103b will help astronomers understand the internal structure of the planet and how it affects the atmosphere of the world, which is puffed out in comparison to Jupiter.
  • These investigations will also help confirm if the planet is, indeed, moving away from the star, and what could be causing that.


Which one of the following scholars suggested the earth’s origin from gases and dust particles?

​(a) ​James Jeans ​

(b)​ H. Alfven

​(c)​ F. Hoyle

​(d)​ O. Schmidt




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