Scientists have discovered a huge exoplanet in the orbit of b Centauri, a gigantic binary system that is in fact visible to the naked eye. This system has 10 times the mass of our Sun, and it has become the heaviest system known and known to have a planet.
Everything indicates that the planet, called ‘b Cen (AB) b’, is a gas giant that It stands out for its size and its mass, which is in fact 10 times that of Jupiter. It would be one of the largest exoplanets ever discovered, but it is also that a planet has never been found in systems with such a large mass for its stars.
Gigantic and most likely lifeless
The binary system b Centauri is 325 light years from Earth, and 83.7 billion kilometers – one of the widest orbits ever discovered – we find this planet. To put ourselves in situation, Pluto orbits 5.310 million kilometers from the Sun.
The most curious thing is that that planet should not exist. At least not according to previous discoveries: planets orbiting star systems that weigh three times more than our Sun have never been found.
Astronomers did not think that planets could form in these types of systems, which makes are rethinking some traditional ideas of planetology.
For Markus Janson, one of the authors of the discovery, “it seems that no matter where we look – we do it in big or small stars, single or binary, living or stellar reminiscences – we always find planets in some form, even in places where we didn’t think it was possible“.
Normally a system like b Centauri would not be a candidate to host planets because it emits enormous ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, which tends to destroy protoplanetary disks that young stars usually have and from which planets arise.
These radiations make b Centauri “probably one of the worst places in the galaxy to host life“, since they would ‘sterilize’ any surface exposed to said radiation.
Via | Gizmodo