Here's a reminder that strange worlds are far stranger and more diverse than our own solar system suggests.
Astronomers have just found a giant exoplanet that is three times as massive as Jupiter, winding its way around its star on a very elliptical path.
If this alien planet, known as HR 5183 b, magically fell into our solar system, its orbit would reach into that of Jupiter, but extend well beyond the path of Neptune, members of the discovery team said.
The planet is different than the planets in our solar system, but in addition it is unlike any other exoplanet we've ever discovered. Sarah Blunt, PhD candidate at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena and lead author of a new study announcing the existence of HR 51
"Other planets discovered far from their stars tend to have very small eccentricities, which means their orbits are more circular," Blunt added. "The fact that this planet has such a high degree of eccentricity speaks to a difference in the way it has formed or developed in relation to the other planets."
HR 5183 b orbits a star about 100 light-years from Earth. Blunt and her colleagues found the planet using the radial velocity method, which searches for the gravitational dragons that a world exerts on its host star.
The research team has been observing the parent star since the 1990s with several different telescopes. This is not enough to cover a complete orbit of the newly discovered world, which lasts between 45 and 100 Earth years.
Nevertheless, astronomers have been able to confirm the existence of HR 5183 b and show that the radial velocity method can also identify planets with such partial information.
"This planet spends most of its time lingering in the outer part of its planet, the planetary system of the star in this highly eccentric orbit; Then it accelerates and spins a slingshot around its star, "said Andrew Howard, an astronomy professor at Caltech University.
"We've discovered this spin," Howard added. "We saw the planet come in, and now it's on its way out, creating such a distinctive signature that we can be sure it's a real planet, even though we have not seen a full orbit . "
The size of the HR 5183 b gravity tug allowed the team to calculate the mass of the planet: about three times the size of Jupiter.
The exoplanet almost certainly started life on a circular orbit, but his Orbit has been changed by a gravitational encounter, probably with a similarly sized neighbor world.
HR 5183 b confirms a Cosmic Truth: Our Milky The Way galaxy is littered with an amazing number of planets There are worlds with three parent stars and " Villains "zooming through the room alone, forever in the dark, there are huge" hot Jupiter "orbiting their parents in just a few days, and there are big worlds like HR 5183 b that take decades to complete a round.
"Copernicus has taught us that the Earth is not the center of the Earth's solar system, and when we discovered other solar systems of exoplanets, we expected them to be carbon copies of our own solar system.
But it was only one surprise after another in the field, "This newly discovered planet is another example of a system that is not the image of our solar system, but has remarkable features that make our universe incredibly diverse."  The new study appears in The Astronomical Journal .
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