London, 9 Dec (ONA) --- A group of international scientists discovered a new giant planet outside the solar system orbiting a massive pair of extremely hot stars.
A research article published in the science journal "Nature" said that the giant exoplanet, or planet located outside of our solar system, was discovered orbiting b Centauri, a stellar pair located 325 light-years from Earth in the Centaurus constellation. This is the hottest and most massive planet-hosting star system found so far.
Astronomers were able to capture an image of the planet using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The new giant planet is 10 times bigger than Jupiter, which is the largest planet in the solar system, according to the research article.
The new planet moves around the star system in one of the widest orbits yet discovered, a staggering distance that is 100 times greater than the one between Jupiter and the Sun, which is 778 million kilometers.
Due to its intense temperature, astronomers said it emits large amounts of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation that should work against the formation of planets.
The large distance from the central pair of stars could be key to the planet's survival, the European Southern Observatory said.
The researchers speculated that the planet must have formed relatively rapidly through gravitational instability, which is when massive clumps of gas and dust cool and contract into a planet. This method is much faster than the traditional core accretion model, which is when solid particles collide and slowly snowball into a planet.
The study noted that the appearance of this planet is just one of many discoveries that are rewriting what scientists understand about the formation of planets, especially under extreme conditions.