This Massive Planet Shouldn't Exist - Gizmodo
Dec 08, 2021 1 min, 15 secs
Scientists have spotted an unusually large exoplanet in orbit around b Centauri, a massive two-star system that is visible to the unaided eye.

With a combined weight of roughly 10 Suns, it’s now the heaviest star system known to host a planet.

Until now, planets had not been found in orbit around star systems weighing more than three solar masses.

“It seems that no matter where we look—around small or big stars, single stars or binary stars, alive stars or dead stellar remnants—we always find planets in some form, even in places we didn’t think possible,” he wrote in an email.

“The discovery of the planet in the b Centauri system and any other future results from BEAST will provide input for planet formation theorists to refine their theories, and hopefully find the physics that allow for the wide range of planets that are observed, both around massive stars and simultaneously around more Sun-like and smaller stars,” Janson said.

From an astrobiological perspective, Janson said b Centauri is “possibly one of the worst places in the galaxy to host life.” Together, the binary pair spew enormous amounts of UV and X-ray radiation, “which would sterilize any surface that is exposed to it,” so “life on any surface in the system is certainly not very likely.” Still, Janson did not rule out the possibility that life could exist in subterranean oceans, matching ongoing speculation about basic life existing on Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus.


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