Planet on the horizon
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.