Another day, another discovery in astronomy that baffles the minds of scientists. And it’s another discovery that shows us how little we actually know about our nature. New observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope are revealing that the Kepler-51 star is hosting three very bizarre exoplanets. They have such low density that they shouldn’t exist (less than 0.1 g per cubic centimeter), according to what scientists thought possible until now.
When there’s very little time left before the start of 2020, it seems like the current year still has plenty of surprising insights to offer.
2,615 light-years away
The bizarre solar system is located 2,615 light-years away in the constellation of Cygnus. Hosting the three exoplanets, there is a G-type star.
Dr. Zachory Berta-Thompson, an astronomer in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, stated:
Kepler-51’s trio take planetary puffiness to new levels,
Their discovery was straight-up contrary to what we teach in undergraduate classrooms.
As dense as the sweet pink treats
The Kepler-51 star is also known as KOI-620, and its three exoplanets have been named Kepler-51b, c and d. Despite of their low density, they are huge – each of them being almost the size of Jupiter.
Jessica Libby-Roberts, a graduate student in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences) at the University of Colorado, details to us just how dense the exoplanets actually are. She is comparing their low density to ‘the sweet pink treats you can buy at any fairground,’.
The three exoplanets are several times more massive than Earth, and their atmospheres are composed of hydrogen and helium. They have been originally discovered about a decade ago, but only now the scientists got some understanding about their amazing densities. And as you might have already guessed, the exoplanets have been discovered by Kepler.
The team’s research will be published in the Astronomical Journal.