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Study reveals mystery of decaying planetary orbits


A collaboration between University of Leeds, Durham University and Northwestern University, USA, has led to a discovery that may have solved a long-standing mystery about decaying planetary orbits around stars like our Sun. The study involved one of our CDT alumni, Craig Duguid (now at Durham) and Prof Adrian Barker in the School of Mathematics. The research proposes that stellar magnetic fields play a crucial role in dissipating the gravitational tides responsible for the orbital decay of ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanets.

Their findings have been published in April 2024 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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