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Planet 10 times the size of Jupiter discovered, when it shouldn’t even exist – National

Astronomers have discovered a planet 10 times the size of Jupiter orbiting a B-type star, three times hotter than the sun.

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The details of the discovered planet, named b Centauri b, are published in Nature this week. It’s one of the largest planets ever discovered, and based on what researchers know about planet formation, it shouldn’t technically exist.

The The European Southern Observatory of The Very Large Telescope in Chile has detected mass in the constellation Centaurus, orbiting “b Centauri” – a pair of stars that are at least six times the mass of the sun and are gravitationally linked. force.

The planet’s orbit is about 100 times wider than Jupiter’s around our sun and about 560 times wider than Earth’s, and the researchers say it’s the hottest planetary host system yet. The biggest one found to date.

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This image shows the pair of stars hosting the largest planet to date, b Centauri, and its giant planet, b Centauri b.

This image shows the pair of stars hosting the largest planet to date, b Centauri, and its giant planet, b Centauri b.

Courtesy / ESO

Until recent discovery, located about 325 light-years from Earth, no planet had been found orbiting a star three times the mass of the sun. Until now, some astronomers believed that planets could not exist around these massive and hot stars.

Planets form from matter clumped together inside giant disks of gas and dust that surround newborn stars. Stars larger than that emit so much high-energy radiation that they are thought to be torches for planet formation. This discovery breaks that notion.

The results suggest that planets may be habitable in massive star systems far more than would be expected from extrapolating previous results, the researchers said.

“Finding a planet around b Centauri was exciting because it completely change the picture of the big stars as planetary masters‘ said Markus Janson, an astronomer at Stockholm University, Sweden and the study’s author.

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“B-type stars are generally considered to be quite destructive and dangerous environments, so it is believed that it is very difficult to form large planets around them,” Janson said.

The study says the existence of this planet can be attributed to its enormous orbital distance from the central pair of stars.

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“The planet in b Centauri is an alien world in an environment completely different from what we experience here on Earth and in our Solar System,” said co-author Gayathri Viswanath, a PhD student at Stockholm University.

“It’s an extreme, radiation-dominated environment, where everything is on a giant scale: bigger stars, bigger planets, bigger distances.”

This is not the first time the planet has been photographed in space. Twenty years ago, researchers photographed it, but it wasn’t until current teams examined archival data that it could be classified as a planet.

– with files from Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8441388/giant-planet-discovered-10-times-size-jupiter/ Planet 10 times the size of Jupiter discovered, when it shouldn’t even exist – National

TaraSubramaniam

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