back to article Astroboffins spot HOT, YOUNG GIANT where she doesn't belong

An international team of astroboffins has spotted an enormous exoplanet with such an improbably large orbit around its host star that it could turn cosmological theory on its head. Artist's conception of exoplanet HD 106906 b No this isn't a Hubble snap with lens flare, it's an artist's conception of the newly discovered …


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  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    To put that in perspective.

    The Earth to Sun distance is commonly called 1 Astronomical Unit.

    Mars is 1.52AU (roughly)., Neptune (last giant outer planet) 30.1AU. Pluto (OK no longer officially a planet) 39.3AU. And the transit time to Pluto is measured in decades.. And so far no human has traveled more than 1/372 of an AU.

    So 650AU is big

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: To put that in perspective.

      Voyager 1 has traveled approximately 127 AU, and it's outside the solar system. Provided Voyager continues at its current pace, it will take another 146 years to reach 650AU.

      This planet is over 4 times farther from its sun than the farthest any man-made vessel has traveled. You could fit two of our solar systems between this planet and its sun, and still have lots of space.

      Big is an understatement.

    2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: To put that in perspective.

      Big enough for one to wonder if it was a trinary system that lost a companion, but shifted the gas giant to where it currently is.

      It *is* just shy of being a brown dwarf.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To put that in perspective.

      John Smith,

      I'm sure that plenty of your companions have travelled at least that far!

  2. Jon Green

    And let's think about the planet for a moment...

    That supergiant - assuming it's a gas giant, which seems reasonable - is about a seventh of the mass necessary to collapse and undergo stellar ignition, according to a recent research paper, which puts the tipping point at about 75 Jovian masses.

  3. Richard Boyce
    Thumb Up

    Detection of something nearby

    I look forward to this technology discovering some very large warm object much closer to our Sun than Proxima Centuari, something large enough to have satellites around it.

    It would be nicer still if we could have another situation similar to what happened with the Voyager probes, where planets were well aligned for a tour, where we could have spacecraft passing not just our outer planets, and Kuiper Belt objects, but passing by an object of this magnitude within our lifetimes.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      That's not going to happen

      You see, space is big. Really big.

      If something large and warm was within a few light-days, we'd have seen it by now, because it'd be extremely bright compared to the other stuff we've been looking at.

      And we're not going to be able to send something further than a few light days within our lifetimes, (unless we find a shortcut.)

      Voyager 1 has gone the furthest, currently sat at roughly 0.7 light days away, after ~36 years.

      1. Trigun

        Re: That's not going to happen

        "(unless we find a shortcut.)".

        Yep, we need to do an "Event Horizon" (minus the going to hell bit) if we're going to get anywhere apart from 2 feet from out door step.

        I wish I could be around to see it when we get out and about in the galaxy (if we ever do). Time to invent the Holly-Hop drive methinks!

        1. Stuart Elliott

          Re: That's not going to happen

          The planet is only that far out due to a miscue in a game of Planet Pool, during a "White Hole" incident.

      2. jonfr

        Re: That's not going to happen

        We don't have a clue what is in the Oort Cloud. But I am sure that the Oort cloud contains more then just icy comets and minor planets (Pluto sized). While I don't think there are any gas giants in the Oort cloud there might be ice giants and earth sized planet there. The problem is finding them, since out there it is pretty darn cold (around 3 Kelvin).

        NASA information.

  4. Lapun Mankimasta

    I'm wondering about the planet's orbital parameters. I'm also thinking that the planet may have formed a lot closer in but been thrown out during a close encounter of the second kind with another big Jovian.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Good point

      I don't think we've much idea how circular, it may be elliptical or even escape and I don't think we could tell for some time.

  5. Graham Marsden


    ... spotted any Black Monoliths in the vicinity?

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Anyone...

      No Dave. I have not. But this sort of thing has happened before, and it has always been attributed to human error.

  6. YARR

    At that distance from the star the gravitational pull must be very small indeed, could this be a wandering planet that has ventured too close to the star and been captured? If there was a way to measure it's orbital plane compared to the other planets in the system that would answer the question...

  7. BryanFRitt

    and now for some math...

    (If something is wrong with this, please correct me)



    127.03 AU approximate distance traveled so far by Voyager 1

    4.2421 ly is the approximate distance to nearest star from Earth


    How long would it take at Voyager 1's average speed so far, to go the distance of Earth to Earth's nearest star?

    --- ---

    My Answer:

    Approximately 76568 years. Last digits maybe off due to rounding, etc...?

    Although, I got 76576 years from Qalculate with units, and 76566 years from Ti Voyage 200 with units.

    --- ---

    // Research:

    127.03 AU is approximately 0.7336640935983627 light days

    127.03 AU is approximately 0.002008662816152567 light years

    From September 5, 1977 to December 7, 2013 is 13,242 days


    // Using Qalculate without units:


    (4.2421 ⋅ 13242) ∕ (0.73366 ∕ 365.25)

    ≈ 27965968.79351470709


    ((4.2421 ⋅ 13242) ∕ (0.73366 ∕ 365.25)) ∕ 365.2425

    ≈ 76568.22191698586



    // Using Qalculate with units:

    4.2421⋅ly⋅13242⋅day/(127.03⋅AU) = (4.2421 ⋅ lightyear ⋅ 13242 ⋅ day) ∕ (127.03 ⋅ astronomical_unit)

    ≈ 2.4165557924 Ts

    ≈ 76.57603215692 kiloyears

    // Qalculate Uses

    ly = lightyear ≈ 9.46073047258 Pm

    day = day = 86.4 ks

    AU = astronomical_unit = 149.5787066 Gm

    year = year = 31.5576 Ms


    // Using Ti Voyage 200 with units:


    ≈ 2.41619E12*_s

    ≈ 2416194140896.8*_s

    ≈ 76566.207457403*_yr

    // Ti Voyage 200 uses

    1*_ltyr = 9.4605284048794E15*_m

    1*_day = 86400.*_s

    1*_au = 149597900000.*_m

    1*_yr = 365.24219878125*_day


    // Web Sources:


    // Calculator Sources:

    Voyage 200, Qalculate


    p.s. for those who want more digits in light days for my calculation...

    ((4.2421 ⋅ 13242) ∕ (0.7336640935983627 ∕ 365.25)) ∕ 365.2425

    ≈ 76567.79469211468

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and now for some math...

      > 4.2421 ly is the approximate distance to nearest star from Earth

      Wrong. Earth's nearest star is approximately 8 light minutes away. :-)

      But top marks for getting a TI advert into your post. Personally, I think a four-banger would have done just as well since you didn't use any more advanced operators. ;-)

      1. BryanFRitt

        Re: and now for some math...

        I suppose that could count as a star too... I should have said excluding the Earth's sun, or something like that...

        The Earth's sun is ≈ 1/278896.8645 = 1/((4.2421 ⋅ lightyear) ∕ (8 ⋅ lightday ⋅ (lightyear ∕ (365.25 ⋅ 24 ⋅ 60 ⋅ lightday)))) times as far as the next closest star from Earth.


        Counting this sun as a star, and 1 AU as the distance between the Earth and it's star, the sun.

        "Astronomical unit, an approximation for the average distance between the Earth and the Sun"


        // Qalculate

        AU⋅13242⋅day/(127.03⋅AU) = (astronomical_unit ⋅ 13242 ⋅ day) ∕ (127.03 ⋅ astronomical_unit)

        ≈ 9.00660316460679 Ms

        ≈ 9006603.16460678579863 s

        ≈ 0.285402031986171 year


        // TI Voyage 200


        ≈ 9006603.1646068*_s

        ≈ .28540812789648*_yr


        Qalculate, TI Voyage 200, and Wikipedia, use different values for AU

        149,578,706,600 m, Qalculate v.0.9.7

        149,597,900,000 m, TI Voyage 200 OS Version 3.10, 07/18/2005

        149,597,870,700 m, (the same day as this post)

        (looks like the TI Voyage 200's AU is a rounded version of Wikipedia's AU, and Qalculate's AU uses a different measurement)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: and now for some math...

        And anyway, please express the result in Vulture-Central units

  8. KrisMac

    ..possibly a silly question..

    ...but given the system is 'only' @18 million years old, is it not possible that it is a binary system that is still in the process of forming? The exo-plant could be a proto brown dwarf that is still accreting material and coud light up once it gains sifficient mass?

    - assuming there is any quantity of gas still available in the vacinity for it to hoover up of course...

  9. Martin Budden Silver badge

    Orbiting, or just a passing rogue?

    They haven't seen the planet complete one orbit yet, they have just detected the planet's heat signature. So maybe the star and planet are not associated/orbiting at all, and the planet is a rogue which just happens to be kind of in the vicinity of the star at the moment as it drifts along.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Orbiting, or just a passing rogue?

      Good point, it could be an "orphan planet"

      I can imagine they may have some indication of the planet's radial velocity, but I doubt the data are sufficient for full orbit calculation. There is of course also the possibility of capture, as in the case of the moons of Mars

  10. Faux Science Slayer

    Earth is not still releasing energy from origin, it is releasing heat from the variable rate fission from 2 million cubic miles of Uranium and Thorium. By products include heat and 'elemental' atoms, including Helium (SG 0.16) and Radon (HL 3.8 days). Under high heat and pressure elemental atoms form 'elemental' molecules and compounds, including CO2, H2O and Methane. Fission rates vary on solar and cosmic particle bombardments and protection level from a varying magnetosphere. Current Earth science models are flawed.

  11. TimeMaster T


    I forget who it was but someone once said:

    The most exciting thing you will ever hear a scientist say is not "Eureka!!,

    but "Hmmm, that's funny."

    1. Martin

      Re: Cool!!

      Isaac Asimov, I think you'll find....

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