The discovery of the first giant planet in orbit of a...

Posted in: 09/12/2021 – 11:29

                A study published on Wednesday, December 08, 2021 revealed the existence of a giant planet called b Cen (AB) b "B Sen (AB) b" that resembles Jupiter and revolves, unlike the usual, around a very huge star system in the constellation Centaur.                

This system consists of two stars and it is called b Cen, and it is heavy in weight, with a mass of six to ten times the mass of the sun, noting that no planet has been discovered so far around a star system more than three solar masses.

And the European Southern Observatory quoted Stockholm University astronomer Markus Janssen, the lead author of the study published in the journal Nature, as saying that stars such as these two “constitute an environment that is considered destructive and extremely dangerous, so that it was thought that it was very difficult for large planets to form” in its surroundings.

The surface of the star more radiant than the b Cen binary, which is about 325 light-years from Earth, has an estimated temperature of more than 18,000 degrees Celsius, more than three times the temperature of the Sun.

When the sun was still in the process of formation, its initial planetary disk, which is a cloud of gas and dust, witnessed the formation of planets, most notably Jupiter, by the dust conglomerate. Its rocky core then accelerated the gas that today forms the atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet.

But stars like b Cen “are so hot and radiant that their light blows matter around and there isn’t enough of them to form a rocky core” nearby, explains Gael Chauvin, astronomer at the French National Center for Scientific Research, a member of the French-Chilean Joint Astronomy Unit. who participated in preparing the study.

Dust cloud

The researcher asks what is, therefore, “the mechanism of formation of planets that operate in such a harsh environment due to very strong radiation”, as observations by the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile and its “Sphere” instrument showed that a planet can form around a huge star, Although this is difficult in theory.

The planet b Cen (AB) b imaged by this telescope has distinctive characteristics. It belongs to the same type as Jupiter, that is, the gas giant planets, but its mass is about eleven times greater. More importantly, the distance that separates it from its two stars is enormous, which is 100 times greater than that which separates Jupiter from the sun.

First, it must be ascertained that it is indeed in the orbit of the b Cen stars, despite this distance from them. The surprise was when a return to the archive showed that the planet had been observed 20 years ago, but the small telescope at the time did not allow the observatory to determine its nature.

The comparison with what was observed in 2000 confirmed that its movement is indeed the movement of a planet, and that it moves in the same way as its host star, that is, it is in its orbit.

As for how it was formed, “there is no likely scenario.” Although the observed system is young, and barely reaches its age of 15 million years, it is existing and fully formed, and it would have been possible to know what happened if it was in the process of formation, that is, if it was between one and two million years old.

It is believed that the emergence of b Cen (AB) b necessitated the formation of a rocky core by dust agglomeration at a large enough distance from the two stars, or as a result of gravitational instability, where part of the dust cloud may have suddenly collapsed on itself.

Research is still in its infancy, and the international team working with Markus Janssen will seek to learn the planet’s chemical composition. This is expected to take a few years, and may allow the discovery of the most likely scenario for how this planet formed.


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