Continuing on the theme of odd planetary discoveries, recently scientists have found the largest known solar system in existence, as reported by the BBC. This system – approximately 100 light years away from Earth – consists of a red dwarf star and a super massive planet and is three times as large as the previous record. The system had been known about for a few years yet its only recently that’s the connection was made between the two bodies.
This discovery was made by Simon Murphy and his team, working at the Australian National University and was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The Planet – the catchily named “2MASS J2126-8140” is thought to be 12-15 times larger than Jupiter. It also orbits its star at a distance of one trillion miles, which equates to 140 times the distance from our sun to Pluto or 7000 times the distance from the sun to Earth. This incredible distance means that it would take 1 million years for it to complete one orbit of its star.
The process of its formation still remains somewhat of a system however. Murphy speculates that “they formed 10 million to 45 million years ago from a filament of gas that pushed them together in the same direction”. Murphy explains their huge distance by speculating that “They must not have lived their lives in a very dense environment. They are so tenuously bound together that any nearby star would have disrupted their orbit completely”.
It truly is astounding what continues to be discovered in the rest of the universe and we can’t wait to see what is discovered next.