A planet “monster”, which theoretically should not exist, was discovered in orbit around a dwarf star, very far, said astronomers Tuesday.
The existence of the gaseous giant challenges the long-held theories that a planet as large as Jupiter’s size can not form around such a small star.
The star has a radius and mass about half that of the sun.
The theory predicts that small stars can form rocky planets, “but they do not collect enough materials to form planets the size of Jupiter,” said the Royal Astronomical Society of Britain in a statement.
It is believed that planets are formed as the gas and dust left by massive galactic explosions, and rotating in disks around newly born stars, are grouped together to form bodies.
The planet was discovered by the NGTS (Next-Generation Transit Survey), based in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
The project gave its name to the star – NGTS-1 – and was nicknamed the planet NGTS-1b. The “b” means that it is the first planet that is around this star.
The study uses a series of 12 telescopes to cross the sky and identify the depressions of the light emitted by the stars, a sign that the planet is moving in front of the star as it is perceived from the Earth.
“The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete surprise for us: we do not believe that such massive planets exist around these little stars,” said Daniel Bayliss at the University of Warwick, lead author of the accepted study for publication in science. The Monthly Notices magazine of the Royal Astronomical Society.
“The planet has about 25 percent of the radius of its host star, which makes it very large compared to its host star, in comparison, Jupiter has only 10 percent of our sun’s radius,” Bayliss said. to AFP.
Once they found it, astronomers measured how much the gravitational impact of the planet made its parent star wobble to determine its size, position, and mass.
The team put into orbit very close to its star, the team found only three percent of the distance between the Earth and the sun, and complete an orbit every 2.6 days, “which means that year NGTS hard 1b two and a half days on Earth “
The planet and the star are about 600 light-years from Earth in a constellation called Columba.
“Despite being a monster on a planet, NGTS-1b was hard to find because its star is so small and weak,” said colleague Bayliss, Peter Wheatley.
The mother star of the planet is described as a Dwarf M, the most common type in the universe, which means there may be many more unplanned gas giant planets, the team said.
“I really want to see what other new and exciting types of planets we can find,” Wheatley said.