Astronomers filmed an exoplanet in an extremely far from its star orbit

Astronomers filmed an exoplanet in an extremely far from its star orbit
Astronomers filmed an exoplanet in an extremely far from its star orbit

The exoplanet COCONUTS-2b has become the closest to us of all that could be observed directly, and the farthest from its own star.

The exoplanet COCONUTS-2b and its star: an artist's view

Distant exoplanets are almost always too small and dim to see directly. Almost all of them are detected by indirect signs - for example, by weak vibrations of a star caused by the attraction of a planet rotating around it or by the darkening of a stellar disk when a planet passes against its background. Only in some rare cases, an exoplanet can be seen directly.

A new such observation is reported by astronomers from the University of Hawaii, whose article was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Two circumstances helped to distinguish the exoplanet COCONUTS-2b: first, a decent distance from the parent star, which is more than 6000 times the radius of the Earth's orbit; secondly, the proximity of the entire system to us. COCONUTS-2 is only 35 light-years from the Sun, making COCONUTS-2b the closest exoplanet ever recorded directly.


COCONUTS-2 itself is a young, active and relatively cool star, its age is less than a billion years, and its size is about three times smaller than the sun. The planet COCONUTS-2b is located at such a great distance from it that in 2011, when it was first noticed, the object was considered free-flying. Only new work by Hawaiian scientists has shown that the planet is gravitationally bound to the star. Astronomers have calculated that COCONUTS-2b completes a full revolution in its huge orbit in 1.1 million years - a record among all known exoplanets.

COCONUTS-2b is an icy gas giant about six times as massive as Jupiter. Being at a great distance from the star, it receives very little radiation and is heated mainly by the heat of its own interior. The temperature on COCONUTS-2b is 160 ° C, making it one of the coldest exoplanets that have been observed directly.

It should be added that the name COCONUTS-2 is not associated with the English word "coconuts", it is an abbreviation for the name of the survey COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS ("Cold partners in ultra-wide orbits"), on the basis of which the discovery was made.

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