HomeSpace NewsWeird young super-Jupiter challenges theories of planet formation

Weird young super-Jupiter challenges theories of planet formation

A newly discovered planet has the diameter of Jupiter but eight times its mass, giving it twice the density of Earth despite being composed mostly of gas. Not only have these characteristics of this “super Jupiter” left astronomers confused, but they could also challenge current theories about planet formation.

The exoplanet, which lies around 310 light-years outside the solar system in the constellation Centaurus, orbits a sun-like star and is just 15 million years old, making it a relative infant in cosmic terms and when compared to our 4.6 billion-year-old planet. A team of astronomers was able to measure both the diameter and mass of this gas giant — dubbed a “super Jupiter” because it is more massive than its solar system namesake — making it the youngest planet of this kind for which such measurements have ever been made.

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