Astronomers have discovered a planet 13 times larger than Earth and orbiting a star 9 times smaller than the Sun.
The corresponding study was published in the journal Science, The Guardian and Reuters write.
This exoplanet orbits a star called LHS 3154.
According to scientists, the fact that the mass of the planet is huge is not unusual, but the fact that it revolves around an ultra-cold dwarf really puzzled them.
|PHOTO: Penn State University
The ratio of the masses of this planet to its star is 100 times greater than that of the Earth and the Sun.
“This discovery highlights how little we know about the universe.”says Suvrat Mahadevan, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of the study.
He adds that the star LHS 3154 is located about 50 light-years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year – 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers).
The Sun is about a thousand times brighter than this star.
Observations of the planet have shown that it is very close to its host star with an orbital period of just 3.7 days. Therefore, according to scientists, liquid water can exist on it.
According to scientists, the new planet may be similar in size and composition to Neptune, the smallest of the four gas planets in our solar system.
The diameter of Neptune is about four times the diameter of the Earth. The method used to study the planet did not allow researchers to measure its diameter, but they suspect it is about three to four times the diameter of Earth.
“This planet raises the question of how planets form around the lowest-mass stars, because it was previously thought that such stars were mostly only capable of forming small terrestrial planets, similar in mass to Earth“, Princeton University astronomer Gudmundur Stefansson said.
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