Interesting article about a planet orbiting a star so closely that it should burn up:

Scientists have discovered a planet that shouldn’t exist. The finding, they say, could alter our understanding of orbital dynamics, a field considered pretty well settled since the time of astronomer Johannes Kepler 400 years ago.

The planet is known as a “hot Jupiter,” a gas giant orbiting the star Wasp-18, about 330 light-years from Earth. The planet, Wasp-18b, is so close to the star that it completes a full orbit (its “year”) in less than an Earth day, according to the research, which was published in the journal Nature.

Of the more than 370 exoplanets — planets orbiting stars other than our sun — discovered so far, this is just the second with such a close orbit.

I read this on Facebook, and a friend of the friend offered these theories:

1) The star and the planet have magnetic poles that are actually repelling each other at that distance with a force that exceeds gravity … strange but possible.

2) The planet’s rotation might be causing it to “bounce” off of the outer atmosphere of the star, so that every time it might sink in it gets knocked back.

3) There may be an alternate source of gravity, like a singularity, so close to this pair that it keeps them in a constant tug of war.

4) The majority of what we know about a far away star comes from the light it gives off. Given that, is it possible that some other light source is “fooling our sensors” to use technobabble?

Draw your own conclusions, but it’s fun to ponder a mystery.