A giant planet that orbits its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance. And “throws a wrench in planet formation theories.”
Weighing in at 11 times Jupiter’s mass and orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance, planet HD 106906 b is unlike anything in our own Solar System and throws a wrench in planet formation theories.
This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see,” said Vanessa Bailey, who led the research. Bailey is a fifth-year graduate student in the UA’s Department of Astronomy.
It is thought that planets close to their stars, like Earth, coalesce from small asteroid-like bodies born in the primordial disk of dust and gas that surrounds a forming star. However, this process acts too slowly to grow giant planets far from their star. Another proposed mechanism is that giant planets can form from a fast, direct collapse of disk material. However, primordial disks rarely contain enough mass in their outer reaches to allow a planet like HD 106906 b to form. Several alternative hypotheses have been put forward, including formation like a mini binary star system. …
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