A group of astronomers has discovered one of the biggest planets ever found orbiting a massive and extremely hot two-star system, despite previously believing that such an environment was too inhospitable for a planet to form in.
The planet was discovered by Markus Janson, a professor of astronomy at Stockholm University, and colleagues, according to research published Wednesday in the science journal Nature.
Janson and his colleagues found the planet using the very sophisticated Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument (SPHERE) on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.
Named b Centauri (AB)b or b Centauri b, the planet is an “alien world experiencing conditions completely different from what we face here on Earth and in our Solar System,” astronomers said in a news release.
“It is 10 times more massive than Jupiter, making it one of the most massive planets ever found. Moreover, it revolves around the binary star at a staggering 100 times greater distance than Jupiter does from the Sun, one of the widest orbits discovered yet, “astronomers explained. “This large distance from the central pair of stars could be key to the planet’s survival.”
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