Planet on the hori­zon

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

A GI­ANT planet – the ex­is­tence of which was pre­vi­ously thought ex­tremely un­likely – has been dis­cov­ered by Univer­sity of War­wick re­searchers.

The univer­sity, sit­u­ated in Gib­bet Hill Road, Coven­try, led an in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion of as­tronomers.

The ex­perts sub­se­quently iden­ti­fied the un­usual planet NGTS-1b - the largest planet com­pared to the size of its com­pan­ion star ever dis­cov­ered in the uni­verse. It has been de­scribed by one expert as a MON­STER!

NGTS-1b is a gas gi­ant six hun­dred light years away, the size of Jupiter, and or­bits a small star with a ra­dius and mass half that of our sun.

Its ex­is­tence chal­lenges the­o­ries of planet for­ma­tion which state that a planet of this size could not be formed by such a small star.

Ac­cord­ing to th­ese the­o­ries, small stars can read­ily form rocky plan­ets but do not gather enough ma­te­rial to­gether to form Jupiter-sized plan­ets.

The planet is as hot Jupiter, at least as large as the Jupiter in our so­lar sys­tem, but with around 20% less mass.

It is very close to its star – just 3% of the dis­tance be­tween Earth and the Sun – and or­bits the star ev­ery 2.6 days, mean­ing a year on NGTS-1b lasts two and a half days.

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