Astronomers have discovered a giant planet that should not exist

The Spanish resort town of Almeria is not famous foronly the scorching sun, the sea and breathtaking landscapes. There is one of the largest universities in Spain - the University of Almeria, of which the Calar Alto Observatory is part. Recently, using the Carmenes tool, researchers have discovered a giant planet called GJ 3512b. This discovery may make scientists rethink the generally accepted view of planet formation.

The discovery of Spanish astronomers may change our understanding of planet formation around small stars

Mysterious planet similar to Jupiter.

International Science Consortium led bySpanish astronomers discovered an unusual exoplanet that revolves around a small star - a red dwarf - at a distance of 31 light years from the solar system. The mass of the discovered planet makes it special - the fact is that it is much larger than theoretical models predicted. The study is published in the journal Science. The mass of the red dwarf is only one tenth of the mass of the sun. According to the authors of the study, only planets the size of the Earth or the so-called super-earths should revolve around such stars. But no more.

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A mysterious planet has been discovered.a Spanish-German research consortium called Carmenes. The goal of Carmenes is to find planets around the smallest stars in space. For this, a new device was built, which was installed at the Calar Alto Observatory at the University of Almeria, at an altitude of 2100 m. Note that the research is carried out under the scientific supervision of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia.

Calar Alto Observatory, Almeria

In the process of observing the red dwarf, scientistsfound that this little star regularly moved toward us and away from us - this phenomenon is caused by a massive object closest to the star. Since the discovery was unexpected, scientists contacted a research team from the University of Bern (Switzerland), as well as one of the world's leading experts in the theory of planet formation, Christoph Mordasini, to discuss possible scenarios for the formation of a giant gas giant.

How was a giant planet formed?

A few years ago, NASA announced to the world aboutdiscovering an amazing star system called Trappist-1. Recall that seven planets revolve around a small star. Initially, scientists assumed that some of the planets of this stellar system could be potentially inhabited, but subsequent observations have not confirmed this. Spanish astronomers used the same model to detect small stars and planets around them, as is the case with Trappist-1. The fact is that this model of planet formation and evolution predicts that a large number of small planets form around small stars. However, things are different with the GJ 3512b.

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A possible explanation for the failure of the theorysmall stars and small planets may be the mechanism that underlies the theoretical model. According to her, planets are formed as a result of the gradual growth of small bodies into large ones. Experts call this the "upstream process." Perhaps the giant planet GJ 3512b, similar in size and composition to Jupiter, was formed in a fundamentally different way, the so-called gravitational collapse - it occurs when a part of the gas disk in which the planets form is destroyed by its own gravitational force.

The image shows the gas giant GJ 3512b. The planet is outside the habitable zone - a zone remote from the star so much that life can form there

But even such an explanation does not resolve the issue.the formation of such a large planet. Indeed, in this case, the planet should continue to increase in size and migrate closer to the star. Planet GJ 3512b is thus an important discovery that should improve our understanding of how planets form around small stars.

Scientists believe that the type of solar system infound by GJ 3512b is rare: team analysis suggests that gas giants can revolve around only 3% of small stars. In most cases, the environment of such stars is made up of small rocky planets. Scientists believe that the discovered exoplanet demonstrates that the model of gravitational instability can play a key role in the formation of giant planets.

Researchers will continue to monitor the unusualstar system to learn more about a potentially existing second planet that is similar to Neptune. Also, experts do not exclude that there can be more planets around the red dwarf. In addition, in search of exoplanets, experts are studying another 300 such stars. Do you think one of these worlds will be inhabited? You can discuss this amazing discovery with the participants of our Telegram chat.