The only planet in the recently discovered solar system is located at a distance of one billion kilometers from its star: the incredible discovery of a lonely planet and its distant star.
According to reports by the Royal Astronomical Society, 2MASS J2126 is approximately 7000 Earth-Sun distances or roughly put, 1 trillion kilometers away from its parent star, meaning that this is the widest orbit of any planet found around another star, breaking all previous records. At such an enormous distance from its star, the planet takes roughly 900,000 years to complete one orbit, meaning it has completed no more than fifty orbits over its lifetime. Finding life there is impossible state researchers suggesting that there is little prospect of any life on an exotic world like this. Astronomers state that any inhabitants would see their ‘Sun’ as no more than a bright star, and might not even imagine they were connected to it at all.
Previously, scientists believed that the giant gas planet known as 2MASS J2126-8140 floated through the galaxy without a star around which it could orbit. However, the latest study by a team of astronomers has revealed that the planet, which is 12 to 15 times bigger than Jupiter, is not alone and is actually orbiting a red dwarf named TYC 9486-927-1. The two, separated by a billion kilometers, are located 100 light years from Earth and are part of the largest solar system ever discovered by astronomers. The orbit of this giant planet, where one year is equal to a million years on Earth, is 140 times wider than the orbit of Pluto.
In order to get a notion of how far away that is, Neptune is located about 30 astronomical units from our sun. Pluto averages about 40 AU from Earth’s star and researchers think the newly discovered ‘Planet Nine’ orbits our sun at a distance of about 1,200 AU.
“The planet is not quite as lonely as we first thought, but it’s certainly in a very long-distance relationship,” study lead author Niall Deacon, of the University of Hertfordshire in England, said in a statement.
Researchers were even able to roughly deduce the age of the Star and planet. According to reports, based on the lithium signature in the star’s spectrum, the red dwarf, and its giant planet are between 10 and 45 million years old, meaning that 2MASS J2126 has therefore completed a maximum of 50 orbits around the star so far.
Lead author of the study, Niall Deacon has been studying for the last couple of years, young stars with wide-orbiting companions. As part of their work, the team reviewed a list of known young stars, brown dwarfs, and free-floating planets to see if any of them were related. Once the team found that both the star and the planet were at a similar distance from Earth — about 100 light years — they compared the movement of both objects in space and realized they moved together.
“This is the widest planet system found so far and both the members of it have been known for eight years,” said Dr. Deacon, “but nobody had made the link between the objects before. The planet is not quite as lonely as we first thought, but it’s certainly in a very long distance relationship.”