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

© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

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-Königstuhl State Observatory (LSW), Uni Heidelberg, Germany 0.09
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), Germany 0.08
Institute for Astrophysics, University of Göttingen, Germany 0.07
Hamburg Observatory, UHH, Germany 0.05
Centre of Astrobiology (CAB), CSIC-INTA, Spain 0.04
Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias (IAC), Spain 0.04
Institute of Particle and Cosmos Physics (IPARCOS), UCM, Spain 0.04
Departamento de Física de la Tierra, Astronomía y Astrofísica I (FTAAI), UCM, Spain 0.04
Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), Spain 0.04
Ciències i Tecnologies de l'Espai (CTE), IEEC, Spain 0.04
Karl Schwarzschild Observatory (TLS), Germany 0.04
Department of Astrophysics, ULL, Spain 0.03
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), ESA, Spain 0.02
Lund Observatory, LU, Sweden 0.02
Institute of Physics, UniBE, Switzerland 0.01
Fractal S.L.N.E., Spain 0.01
School of Physics and Astronomy, QMUL, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
Optical Development, Spain 0.01
UCD School of Physics, Ireland 0.01
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), WIS, Israel 0.01
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Germany 0.01
Department of Planetary Sciences (PtyS) and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), Arizona, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01
National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), CONACYT, Mexico 0.01
Observatorio Astronómico Nacional (OAN), Universidad de Chile, Chile 0
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics (ITAP), CAU, Germany 0
Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ARI), Uni Heidelberg, Germany 0
Department of Theoretical and Cosmos Physics, UGR, Spain 0
Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), Germany 0
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UChicago, United States of America (USA) 0
Department of Geophysics, TAU, Israel 0
Department of Civil Engineering, UGR, Spain 0
Leiden Observatory (STRW), Netherlands 0
European Southern Observatory (ESO), Chile 0
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UV, Spain 0
Escuela de Ingeniería de Minas, Energía y Materiales de Oviedo, UniOvi, Spain 0
PITTsburgh Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Center (PITT PACC), United States of America (USA) 0
National Astronomical Observatory (OAN), IGN, Spain 0
Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (IAAT), Uni Tübingen, Germany 0
School of Physics and Astronomy, UB, United Kingdom (UK) 0
Stellar Astrophysics Centre (SAC), AU, Denmark 0
INAF - Astronomical Observatory of Turin, Italy 0
Department of Physics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy 0
Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Gregorio Marañón (IISGM), Spain 0
Department of Signal Theory and Communications (DTSC), UC3M, Spain 0
International Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies (IIASS), Italy 0

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