S-upiter: Team of Scientists Discover Planet 10 Times the Size of Jupiter

© East News / EyevineArtist's impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in its enclosure on Cerro Armazones, a 3060-metre mountaintop in Chile's Atacama Desert
Artist's impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) in its enclosure on Cerro Armazones, a 3060-metre mountaintop in Chile's Atacama Desert - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.12.2021
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A team of scientists has discovered a gaseous exoplanet ten times the size of Jupiter orbiting a pair of stars, making it one of the largest planets yet identified.
The planet, named b Centauri (AB)b, or b Centauri b, is some 325 light-years from Earth and was discovered through direct imaging. The image was captured by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, in Chile's mountainous Atacama Desert.
The gas giant planet orbits a binary star system that combined has six times the mass of the Sun, making it the most massive system around which a planet has yet been identified.
A statement from the observatory said: "Until now, no planets had been spotted around a star more than three times as massive as the Sun".
As the mass of a star increases, so too does heat and high-energy radiation, according to Markus Janson, a co-author of the research and professor of astronomy at Stockholm University.
The large mass and high heat and radiation levels make planet formation far more problematic, which makes the massive planet an important discovery, outside of its sheer size and great distance from its binary star system host.
Jupiter is approximately 11 times as wide as the Earth, which makes the newly-discovered planet over 110 times as large as our own.
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