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Massive new 'super-Jupiter' exoplanet discovered

Massive new 'super-Jupiter' exoplanet discovered

December 2, 2012 - An international team of astrophysicists has discovered an enormous gaseous planet that is 13 times more massive than Jupiter, earning it the designation "super-Jupiter."

The finding, which is set to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, marks the first new exoplanet system to be directly observed in over four years, according to the researchers. A pre-print of the study is available here.

The planet is named "Kappa And b," because it is revolving around the parent star Kappa Andromedae. That star has a mass that is 2.5 times the mass of the sun, and can be seen at night, by eye, in the constellation Andromeda.

The finding may be most significant because it sheds light on processes of planet formation. Astrophysicists are still unsure exactly what physical rules govern the formation of planets, particularly as stars begin to get far more massive than the one at the center of our solar system. Many experts thought that a star as big as Kappa Andromedae would disrupt planet formation because of its intense and powerful radiation.

Sources and more information:

Super-Jupiter Discovered Circling Massive Star

The "super-Jupiter" Kappa Andromedae b, shown here in an artist's rendering, circles its star at nearly twice the distance that Neptune orbits the sun. With a mass about 13 times Jupiter's, the object glows with a reddish color. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center S. Wiessinger) The Subaru Telescope has imaged an enormous gas giant planet or...

Super-Jupiter spotted 170 light years away

Scientists have discovered what could be a massive planet outside our solar system, NASA said Monday. Astronomers used infrared data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii to identify Kappa Andromedae b, a "super-Jupiter" object that appears to be nearly 13 times the mass of Jupiter. The planet orbits a star called Kappa Andromedae.

'Super-Jupiter' Discovery Dwarfs Solar System's Largest Planet

Super-Jupiter spotted 170 light years away

NASA snaps rare direct photo of a Super-Jupiter planet Kappa Andromedae b

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