Astronomers spot a monstrous planet that should ‘not exist’

A group of ASTRONOMERS has discovered a supermassive distant alien world which is so surprising that it contradicts all known theories of planet formation. In other words, it should not exist.

An international team of astronomers, led by the University of Warwick, has discovered a giant planet, named NGTS-1b, which compared to the size of its companion star is the most massive planet that has ever been discovered in the universe.

An artist’s impression of sunrise on planet NGTS-1b. Image Credit: University of Warwick/Mark GarlickSource: AFP

The existence of this “monster” calls into question the theories about the formation of planets according to which a planet of such size could not have been formed by such a small star—with half the radius and mass of our Sun, report researchers.

The giant planet NGTS-1b is the first exoplanet (located outside the Solar System) that has been discovered by the Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), a research facility located at the Paranal Observatory, in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

 

NGTS-1b is a gaseous planet, with an infernal temperature of about 530 ° C, because it orbits very close to its star, at 3% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

A year on NGTS-1b lasts about two and a half days on Earth.

“The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete astonishment to us. Such massive worlds were not thought to exist around such small stars,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Daniel Bayliss of the University of Warwick’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Group.

“This is the first exoplanet we have discovered with our new NGTS facility, and we are already disputing the received wisdom of how planets form.”

“NGTS-1b was very hard to find, despite being a monster of a planet, because its parent star is small and faint,” said Warwick Professor Peter Wheatley.

“Small stars are the most prevalent in the cosmos, so it is possible that there are many of these giant planets waiting to found.

“Having worked for almost a decade to develop the NGTS telescope array, it is overwhelming to see it picking out new and surprising types of planets. I’m looking forward to seeing what other kinds of exciting new planets we can turn up.”

The study on the giant planet, which is 600 light years away from Earth, will be published in the Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Source: ‘Monster’ planet discovery challenges formation theory

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