Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Judi Lynn

(161,405 posts)
Tue Oct 16, 2018, 03:05 AM Oct 2018

Anomalously Huge Planets Have Been Detected Orbiting a Bafflingly Young Star

This shouldn't be possible.


A wee baby star at the tender age of just 2 million years has revealed itself to be quite the precocious little cosmic object.

Astronomers have discovered it has not one, but four planets in the protoplanetary disc of dust and gas that surrounds it - and they are all gargantuan, with the biggest coming in at 11 times the mass of Jupiter, and the smallest about the mass of Saturn.

Moreover, their orbits are incredibly distant. The outermost is more than 1,000 times the distance from the star than the innermost. That's the most extreme range of orbits ever observed in a planetary system; Pluto, for context, is only around 102 times the distance from the Sun as Mercury.

The star is named CI Tau, located around 500 light-years away in a star-forming region of the constellation of Taurus, and it's been a bit of a brain teaser since 2016. That's when the first of its planets - the largest of the four, the super-Jupiter named CI Tau b - was discovered, orbiting really close to the star, completing a full orbit every 9 days.

1 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Anomalously Huge Planets Have Been Detected Orbiting a Bafflingly Young Star (Original Post) Judi Lynn Oct 2018 OP
Record Breaker: 4 Huge Alien Planets Spotted Around Baby Star Judi Lynn Oct 2018 #1

Judi Lynn

(161,405 posts)
1. Record Breaker: 4 Huge Alien Planets Spotted Around Baby Star
Tue Oct 16, 2018, 09:34 PM
Oct 2018

By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | October 16, 2018 07:14am ET

- click for image -


In an astronomical first, four gigantic planets have been detected around a very young star, a new study reports.

The star in question is CI Tau, which lies about 500 light-years from Earth. CI Tau is just 2 million years old and is still surrounded by a swirling clump of dust and gas known as a protoplanetary disk.

The star was already known to host one planet, a world about 10 times more massive than Jupiter that circles CI Tau once every nine Earth days. This planet, called CI Tau b, was the first "hot Jupiter" ever discovered around such a young star. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]

In the new study, a team of researchers observed CI Tau and its disk with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), a network of radio telescopes in the Chilean Andes. ALMA spotted three additional gaps in the disk, at distances of 13, 39 and 100 astronomical units (AU) from the star, the astronomers report. (One AU is the Earth-sun distance — about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers).

Latest Discussions»Culture Forums»Science»Anomalously Huge Planets ...