We may all be already amazed by the size of a planet like Jupiter or Saturn. The two gas giants from our solar system are hundreds of times bigger than Earth. Actually, inside Jupiter you could fit in over 1,300 planets the size of our own. These numbers may be incredible, but the truth is that planets can become even bigger.
Planets are forming themselves due to gravity, which gathers matter over millions of years. Therefore, there’s no telling how big a planet can become, but we are free to search for the biggest ones available. And astronomers just found another exoplanet that shocked them.
10 times more massive than Jupiter
A group of researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology made a stunning discovery while using data gathered by the Gaia space observatory. They found the 2MASS 1155-7919 b exoplanet, and it’s located in Epsilon Chamaeleontis Association, near the Chameleon constellation.
This planet is pretty unique, at least for the fact that it’s young and huge. Annie Dickson-Vandervelde, lead author of the study, details to us more about the newfound exoplanet:
The dim, cool object we found is very young and only 10 times the mass of Jupiter, which means we are likely looking at an infant planet, perhaps still in the midst of formation,
330 light-years away from us
The young exoplanet is pretty close to our own planet, speaking in terms of astronomical scaling: “only” 330 light-years away. But things become even odder when it comes to 2MASS 1155-7919 b: the cosmic object orbits a very young star (only 5 million years old,a thousand times younger than our own host star, the sun), and the orbiting is happening at 600 times the distance from the Earth to our sun.
However, Dickson-Vandervelde admits that there is plenty of mystery regarding the newfound planet:
This is also only the fourth or fifth example of a giant planet so far from its ‘parent’ star, and theorists are struggling to explain how they formed or ended up there.
The discovery has been published in the Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society.