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Astronomers Just Discovered A Planet That's Not A Sphere

 It turns out that not all planets are perfectly round like Earth.

In a blog post, the European Space Agency (ESA) claims to have discovered a planet in the constellation Hercules with the shape of a rugby ball. The planet, designated WASP-103b, appears to be distorted as a result of strong tidal forces brought on by its host star.

WASP-103b's host star is so close to the planet that it produces a startling tidal force, similar to how the Moon's gravity pulls on Earth. The planet has developed a rugby ball shape as a result, and intriguingly, this is the first exoplanet to exhibit this deformity.

The Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope provided the foundation for the finding, which was made by the ESA's CHEOPS space telescope.

In particular, CHEOPS was able to recognize the planet's highly distinct light fingerprints as it passed by its host star. Astronomers were able to determine the exact tidal deformation of the object using this data.

Jacques Laskar, researcher director at the French National Center for Scientific Research and co-author of a study on the discovery in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, said in the blog post, "It's amazing that CHEOPS was actually able to disclose this little deformation.

This is the first time that such an analysis has been done, and we can only hope that continuing to observe for a longer period of time will confirm this finding and advance our understanding of the planet's core structure.

Future studies by the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope are now the researchers' best bet for learning more about the precise cause of the unusual planet's deformation, as well as the rest of the cosmos.

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