Scientists have revealed an image of a planet around two stars so hot and huge they thought they could not serve as a home to other worlds.
The new image, taken from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, shows a planet orbiting b Centauri.
That is a two-star system that can be seen with the naked eye. It is also the hottest and most massive star system ever to be found with a planet around it.
Indeed, those stars are so hot and so huge that some scientists thought it was impossible for them to host planets like the one in the new image.
Until now, scientists had only found other planets around stars, or sets of them, that were at most three times as massive as our Sun. The binary star around which the new planet orbits is six times the mass of our Sun.
“Finding a planet around b Centauri was very exciting since it completely changes the picture about massive stars as planet hosts,” said Markus Janson, a Stockholm University astronomer and the first author on a paper describing the findings.
That article, ‘A wide-orbit giant planet in the high-mass b Centauri binary system’, is published in Nature.Internet Explorer Channel Network