Thursday, November 2, 2017

Puzzling Discovery: Giant Planet Found Orbiting Tiny Star

 An international group of researchers have discovered a giant planet orbiting an ultracool dwarf star - the largest planet compared to its star to ever be found - leaving the researchers baffled at how the system could have formed.
 The planet, called NGTS-1b, is about 600 light-years from our solar system and is a gas giant about the size of Jupiter. On the other hand, its star is just half the mass and radius of our sun. This planet orbits its star at 3 percent the distance the Earth orbits the sun, with this planet completing a full orbit every 2.6 Earth days.
 "The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete surprise to us — such massive planets were not thought to exist around such small stars," Daniel Bayliss, lead author on the new work and a researcher at University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said in the statement. The study further explained that this was the third time a gas giant had been seen around such small stars, M-dwarfs - but this planet was by far the largest found.
 "NGTS-1b was difficult to find, despite being a monster of a planet, because its parent star is small and faint," Bayliss said. "Small stars are actually the most common in the universe, so it is possible that there are many of these giant planets waiting to be found."
 "Our challenge is to now find out how common these types of planets are in the galaxy, and with the new NGTS facility, we are well-placed to do just that," he added.

Read more about this fascinating story at: https://www.space.com/38625-monster-planet-circles-tiny-star.html
Or visit the University of Warwick's website for the official press release: https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/monster_planet_discovery/
Original Study: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.11099v1.pdf

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