A giant exoplanet orbiting a very-low-mass star challenges planet formation models

Journal: Science

Published: 2019-09-27

DOI: 10.1126/science.aax3198

Affiliations: 49

Authors: 182

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Research Highlight

Red dwarf punches above its weight



An enormous exoplanet orbiting a small star suggests an alternative process for planetary formation.

Very few giant planets have been spotted orbiting low-mass stars, so how they formed is poorly understood.

A team that included researchers from the Spanish National Research Council used a combined visible and infrared telescope to study a red dwarf star 31 light years away.

Their observations revealed that a gaseous planet with almost half the mass of Jupiter is orbiting the red dwarf, despite the star having only an eighth of the Sun’s mass. Models suggest that the planet formed when part of the dusty disk circling the red dwarf broke off in the early days of the stellar system when the star’s mass was too small to stabilize the ring.

The giant’s eccentric orbit suggests that another planet could be present, pulling on both the star and its sizeable companion.

Supported content

  1. Science 365, 1441–1445 (2019). doi: 10.1126/science.aax3198
Institutions Share
Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA), CSIC, Spain 0.16
Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory (CAHA), Spain 0.10
Heidelberg University (Uni Heidelberg), Germany 0.09
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Germany 0.08
Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), Spain 0.08
Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), Spain 0.07
University of Göttingen, Germany 0.07
University of Hamburg (UHH), Germany 0.05
Centre of Astrobiology (CAB), CSIC-INTA, Spain 0.04
Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias (IAC), Spain 0.04
Karl Schwarzschild Observatory (TLS), Germany 0.04
University of La Laguna (ULL), Spain 0.03
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), ESA, Spain 0.02
Lund University (LU), Sweden 0.02
University of Bern (UniBE), Switzerland 0.01
Fractal S.L.N.E., Spain 0.01
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Optical Development, Spain 0.01
University of Granada (UGR), Spain 0.01
University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland 0.01
Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS), Israel 0.01
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Germany 0.01
The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
The University of Arizona (Arizona), United States of America (USA) 0.01
National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), CONACYT, Mexico 0.01
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Germany 0
University of Kiel (CAU), Germany 0
The University of Chicago (UChicago), United States of America (USA) 0
University of Chile, Chile 0
Tel Aviv University (TAU), Israel 0
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile 0
University of Valencia (UV), Spain 0
Leiden Observatory (STRW), Netherlands 0
University of Oviedo (UniOvi), Spain 0
University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), United States of America (USA) 0
National Geographic Institute (IGN), Spain 0
University of Tübingen (Uni Tübingen), Germany 0
University of Birmingham (UB), United Kingdom (UK) 0
Aarhus University (AU), Denmark 0
INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Turin (OATO), Italy 0
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy 0
Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Gregorio Marañón (IISGM), Spain 0
Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M), Spain 0
International Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies (IIASS), Italy 0