Planet Orbits Its Star Once Every 900,000 Years!
January 27, 2016 12:08 PM EST
A long-distance relationship is being played out on a cosmic scale. Scientists have spotted a planet that is separated from its star by a trillion kilometers and takes a million years to go around it!
According to Christian Science Monitor, the planet 2MASS J2126 was earlier assumed to be free floating, unbound by any star in its vicinity. Recently, scientists found that the planet is paired with a star that is about a trillion kilometers away. For comparison, the distance between the planet and its star TYC 9486-927-1 is 7,000 times more than the separation between Sun and Earth. It takes the planet 900,000 Earth-years to complete an orbit of its star.
The link was established by researchers at University of Hertfordshire who were searching for young stars and planets in the sky. Up on spotting TYC 9486-927-1, they discovered that the star and 2MASS J2126 were moving together in space. The system is about 104 light-years away from the Sun.
"This is the widest planet system found so far and both the members of it have been known for eight years but nobody had made the link between the objects before. The planet is not quite as lonely as we first thought, but it's certainly in a very long distance relationship," said Dr. Neil Deacon according to Phys.
Analysis of the star's light spectrum revealed it was fairly young, aged between 10 million and 45 million years old. The exercise also helped researchers estimate that the planet is a gas giant, about 11 times the mass of Jupiter. The distance from its parent star makes the system the widest known planetary system.