back to article Gas giant 11 times the mass of Jupiter discovered in b Centauri binary system

Scientists have discovered a gas giant planet 11 times the mass Jupiter orbiting the binary system of b Centauri A and B. The b Centauri star system, located roughly 325 light years from our solar system, hosts stars with a combined mass between six and 10 times that of the Sun. A team led by Markus Janson, an astronomy …

  1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Pint

    Direct observation

    The fact that the planet was found by direct observation is amazing. So congratulations to the team, beers (or beverage of your choice) all round.

    Clearly the theory of planetary formation in solar systems is a complicated and challenging field of study what with all the many different arrangements of planets orbiting stars that have so far been observed, and none like our own system, with three or four rocky inner planets and larger gas giants in outer orbits. This could be due to how easy or difficult planetary systems are to find, or to the exceptional nature of our own system.

    (Umm, do I sound a bit like Sheldon Cooper? I have just been watching back to back episodes of 'Young Sheldon', maybe it is rubbing off.)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I heard on Facebook that it was only a regular sized gas giant until it got the COVID vaccine.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Joke

      "it was only a regular sized gas giant until it got the COVID vaccine"

      What did you expect? We're vaccinating for Delta now, and this gas giant is the Beta variant.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: "it was only a regular sized gas giant until it got the COVID vaccine"

        Belter variant, shurely.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: "it was only a regular sized gas giant until it got the COVID vaccine"

          Down vote? Looks like _someone's_ not a fan of classic science fiction.

          : Someone who lives or works in the asteroid belt or outer planets. E.g. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/256924/first-use-of-the-term-belter-in-sci-fi-as-the-demonym-for-asteroid-belt-inhabi

          (Hmm! I'd thought it was '60s. 1948, eh? Good ol' Sturgeon.)

  3. FrenchFries!

    It's this big

    O

  4. Brian 3

    I think with 500 floodlights to light the place it'd be a doddle to find the christmas bulb quickly? Much harder to find it in the dark, plus how will you see which way round to put the fresh unit?

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Reminds me of the old joke about the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlamp - "did you lose them here? No, but over there, but I can see better here".

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Boffin

    B Centauri

    Not to be confused with A Centuri B, which is much closer to hand.

    Astronomical naming makes my head hurt...

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: B Centauri

      It's worse than you think. This article is about b Centauri; B Centauri is a different star entirely.

      Similarly, A Centauri is actually about the same distance as B, and quite a bit further than b. α Centauri is the close one.

  6. Wellyboot Silver badge

    This is a big solar system

    I think It's time we accept that any simulation that can produce a stable solar system once in a billion iterations is likely to be found if we look for it.

    To put this b Centauri system into some local perspective, at the orbital distance these gas giants are sitting (well over 500AU) after 44 years, Voyager has not even travelled one third of that distance!

  7. 42656e4d203239 Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    So how much bigger than Jupiter...

    does a gas giant have to get before it ignites?

    Icon cos that's what inquiring minds want to know (well one mind - i don't have DID, to my knowledge, so I only count as 1)

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: So how much bigger than Jupiter...

      It depends how you classify 'ignites'.

      In between gas giants and 'proper*' stars are the Dwarfs, these seem to start in the low teen multiples of Jupiter mass (Brown Dwarf) and glow due to the immense core pressure allowing a limited level of fusion to occur.

      At about 80 times the mass of Jupiter the Browns become Red Dwarfs which are classified as main sequence stars.

      *big balls of fire like our Sun which is classified as a Yellow Dwarf.

  8. druck Silver badge

    Mass

    Scientists have discovered a gas giant planet 10 times the size of Jupiter orbiting the binary system of b Centauri A and B.

    I believe it is 10 or 11 times the mass, rather than size.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ow

    How do you get your head around these numbers ???

    Seems like this universe thing is quite large ....

    1. KBeee Silver badge

      Re: Ow

      Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Ow

      Yes, Quite large, If you travel at 1,000 times the speed of light you couldn't make the round trip to just our galaxies centre in a human lifetime.

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