Lonely Planet is 1 Trillion Kilometers Away From Its Star

Posted on January 29, 2016

A lonely planet is located 1 trillion kilometers away from its star. This is equal to 7,000 Earth-Sun distances. It has the widest orbit of any planet around another star ever discovered. The planet, named 2MASS J2126, was originally thought to be a free floating planet.

Dr. Niall Deacon, lead author of the study from the University of Hertfordshire, has spent the past few years searching for young stars with companions in wide orbits. His team looked through lists of known young stars, brown dwarfs and free-floating planets to see if any of them could be related. They found that star TYC 9486-927-1 and planet 2MASS J2126 are moving through space together, implying that they are associated.

Dr. Deacon says in a statement, "This is the widest planet system found so far and both the members of it have been known for eight years, 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."

The researchers studied the spectrum of the star to estimate the mass of 2MASS J2126. It has 11.6 to 15 times the mass of Jupiter. The researcher say that if there are any aliens on 2MASS J2126 they would see their "Sun" as "no more than a bright star, and might not even imagine they were connected to it at all."

The findings were reported in a paper (PDF) published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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