Alien world discovered, pushes the scientific understanding of planets

Astronomers have made a discovery that has pushed researchers' understanding of planets and where it's possible for them to exist.

@JakConnorTT
Published Thu, Dec 9 2021 12:02 AM CST   |   Updated Mon, Jan 3 2022 2:32 AM CST

A team of astronomers has located a planet in a star system that previously wasn't thought to be able to host stars.

Alien world discovered, pushes the scientific understanding of planets 10 | TweakTown.com

The two-star system is located approximately 325 light-years away from Earth within the constellation Centaurus. The system is called b Centauri and measures in at six times the mass of our Sun, which makes it the largest star system to have a planet orbiting it. Up until now, astronomers only found planets orbiting stars that were maximum three times the mass of our Sun. The discovery of this planet has expanded astronomers' knowledge of where its possible planets can form.

"B-type stars are generally considered as quite destructive and dangerous environments, so it was believed that it should be exceedingly difficult to form large planets around them," said Markus Janson, an astronomer at Stockholm University, Sweden and first author of the new study.

The main star of the system is a B-type star, which are known to be unfavorable environments for planet formation as the star's extreme mass means it gives off more heat. The hotter the star is, the more high-energy radiation it emits, which is damaging to any planet-forming material in the surrounding area. Despite the harsh environment in the star system, the planet that was discovered is estimated to be ten times the mass of Jupiter, which also makes it one of the largest planets ever discovered.

"Finding a planet around b Centauri was very exciting since it completely changes the picture about massive stars as planet hosts," said Janson.

"The planet in b Centauri is an alien world in an environment that is completely different from what we experience here on Earth and in our Solar System. It's a harsh environment, dominated by extreme radiation, where everything is on a gigantic scale: the stars are bigger, the planet is bigger, the distances are bigger," said Gayathri Viswanath, a PhD student at Stockholm University and co-author on the study.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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