One of the best things about the sheer number of exoplanets that astronomers are currently finding is how some are just very different. Those differences can sometimes undermine standing theories, and prompt scientists to start considering new theories that account for the new information. That is undoubtedly what will happen to accommodate a new massive planet found by a team led by Dutch scientists. This planet is unique in one very special way – it is about 110 times farther away from its star than the Earth is from the sun.
The star and accompanying planet are located in the southern constellation Musca about 360 light years away from Earth. Known as YSES 2b, the planet was found by the Young Suns Exoplanet Survey (YSES) which uses data from the Very Large Telescope to search for young stars. The one YSES 2b is orbiting is only 14 million years old, but resembles what our own sun would have looked like at that age.
Video discussing the finding.Credit: Learning Academy YouTube Channel
There is no planet like YSES 2b around our current sun though, and its existence has some interesting implications for models of the early solar system. Three potential explanations ...