India, May 3 -- A new study has uncovered a mechanism that could solve a long-standing mystery about decaying planetary orbits around stars like our Sun.

The study, published today (Mon April 29th) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, proposes that stellar magnetic fields play a crucial role in dissipating the gravitational tides responsible for the orbital decay of 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets.

The findings are the result of an international collaboration between University of Leeds, Northwestern University, USA, and Durham University - who led the study.

Hot Jupiters are massive, gaseous planets similar to Jupiter that orbit extraordinarily close to their parent stars, taking only a few days to complete one orbit.

This close proximity ...