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كوكب خارج المجموعة الشمسية يثير حيرة علماء الفلك.. التفاصيل

A planet outside the solar system baffles astronomers.. Details

Astronomers recently discovered a massive exoplanet orbiting a star similar to our Sun. This massive planet is only 15 million years old, a baby by galactic standards and ancient, but researchers are baffled by its massive density.

Called HD 114082 b, the planet is similar in size to Jupiter, but appears to be eight times as massive.

It is common for astronomers to discover gas giant planets similar to or larger than Jupiter, but it is unusual to discover a planet of this density and heavy, according to Engadget.

“Compared to currently accepted models, HD 114082 b is two to three times more dense for a young gas giant only 15 million years old,” lead researcher Olga Zakzhayi said in a statement.

If measurements of this planet’s mass are correct, that would make it twice as dense as Earth – and Earth is already a dense planet, being a rocky type with a metallic core.

That could be because the planet is so young, there’s just something about the way gas giants form that we don’t yet realize.

“We think that giant planets could form in two possible ways,” says co-author Ralph Lönnhardt of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. “Both occur within a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust distributed around a young, central star.”

The first approach to how planets form is called core accretion, in which a tiny nucleus attracts other particles, which slam into it and stick together until it becomes the starting point for a planet. The second theory is called disk instability, where a disk of matter cools and then splits into planet-sized fragments.

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Most astronomers lean towards the core accretion theory, but this planet does not fit that model.

If formed by core accretion it would be expected to start hotter than in the disc instability model, and the hot gas should swell to a larger volume. The small size of this planet fits better with the less common disk instability model.

However, there are many open questions about how planets formed and how quickly they cooled after formation. “It’s too early to give up on the idea of ​​a hot start,” Lonehart said. “All we can say is that we still don’t understand the formation of giant planets very well.”