European astronomers have discovered a planet 10 times the size of Jupiter, orbiting a star three times the size of the Sun.
The discovery was revealed in the journal Nature last week. The team discovered this exoplanet using a telescope from the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The star is located in the constellation Centauri 318 light-years from Earth and orbits “b Centauri,” two pairs of stars that together have a mass 10 times the mass of the Sun. Its orbit is about 100 times larger than that of Jupiter around our sun and about 560 times larger than that of the Earth.
“Finding a planet around B Centauri was very exciting, because it completely changes the picture of massive stars as hosts on this planet,” Swedish astronomer Markus Jansson, one of the study’s authors, said in an interview with the journal Nature.
“Planet Centauri is an alien world in an environment very different from what we experience here on Earth and in our solar system,” said co-author Gayathri Viswanath, a doctoral student at Stockholm University.
Previously, no planet had been observed orbiting a star more than three times the mass of the Sun.
Some astronomers believe that planets cannot exist around such huge and hot stars.
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