New planet nine times mass of Jupiter found in nearby star system

  • New discovery marks the first planetary system where one planet has been detected directly and a second planet through the indirect methods
  • β Pictoris c is nine times the mass of Jupiter – and over 2800 times as massive as Earth
  • International team of astronomers includes University of Warwick
  • “It provides us with an excellent candidate for follow-up observations which can give us insight into how planets form.”

An international team including a University of Warwick astronomer has discovered a new planet around a nearby star.

A team of astronomers led by Anne-Marie Lagrange, a CNRS researcher at the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (CNRS/Université Grenoble Alpes)1 and including Dr Paul A. Wilson from the University of Warwick, has discovered a second giant planet in orbit around β Pictoris, a star that is relatively young (23 million years old) and close (63.4 light years), and surrounded by a disk of dust.

The β Pictoris system has fascinated astronomers for the last thirty years since it enables them to observe a planetary system in the process of forming around its star. Comets have been discovered in the system, as well as a gas giant, β Pictoris b, detected by direct imaging and described in 2009 by Lagrange’s team.

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