Latest in Science

Image credit:

Scientists observe the largest solar system ever discovered

An exoplanet is a trillion miles from its star.
39 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Astronomers have discovered that a huge planet and star 104 light years from Earth form the largest solar system ever seen. The planet, dubbed 2MASS J2126-8140, and its red dwarf star are a full 7,000 astronomical units (AUs) apart, or a trillion miles (an AU is the distance between the Earth and the sun). Researchers previously thought the planet was "rogue," roaming the galaxy alone. In fact, they're so distant that if the star exploded, citizens of planet 2MASS wouldn't know about it for a full 62 days. Given its bizarre characteristics, however, it's unlikely that anyone lives there.

For one, it's up to 15 times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our own solar system. You might think that makes it a frigid gas giant, but that's not so. 2MASS is so large that it's on the border between a planet and brown dwarf star, and has a likely surface temperature of around 2,730 degrees F. Meanwhile, the star it orbits around, TYC 9486-927-1, is very young, with an age between 10 and 45 million years. Given that 2MASS takes 900,000 years to do one orbit, it has only made a maximum of 50 trips around the star so far, total.

By comparison, a well-known planet of similar size orbiting the star Beta Pictoris b star is much closer. "Compared to Beta Pictoris b, 2MASS J2126 is more than 700 times further away from its host star," said co-author Simon Murphy of the Australian National University, "but how such a wide planetary system forms and survives remains an open question."

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
39 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best mobile devices for students

The best mobile devices for students

View
Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

View
Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

View
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

View
iFixit teardown takes a look inside the Note 10+ 5G

iFixit teardown takes a look inside the Note 10+ 5G

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr