Feb 26, 2023

Large ‘forbidden’ exoplanet orbits a relatively tiny star

Posted by in category: space

Astronomers have discovered a “forbidden” planet that appears to be far larger than should be possible given its circumstances. A team of researchers investigated a candidate exoplanet called TOI 5205b, first identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and not only confirmed that the planet was there but also discovered that it has some baffling characteristics.

The exoplanet orbits a type of star called an M dwarf or red dwarf. These are the most common type of stars in our galaxy and are small and cool, typically being around half as hot as our sun.

While it’s common to find exoplanets orbiting red dwarfs, it’s rare to find gas giants orbiting them. And in the case of the recent discovery, the gas giant exoplanet was found orbiting a low-mass M dwarf, which is unheard of. The planet is very large in comparison to its star and blocks out around 7% of the star’s light when passing in front of it.

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