A group of scientists detected exiled exoplanet 300 light years away in the constellation Crux. Apparently, the planet was ejected from its host star’s neighborhood, and it dragged along a cloud of debris in the process.
Scientists are now analyzing the exoplanet to see whether it has a ring of dust and debris around it as they previously hypothesized. The research team is also curious to learn more about how the planet was expelled because they believe that similar events occurred in our solar system’s early days, as well.
The exoplanet was first spotted two years ago the Magellan Telescopes in Chile. But recent images taken by by Hubble space telescope and the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), a ground observatory located in Chile, show that the host star, dubbed HD 106906, also has a comet belt which may hint at the solar system’s violent past. The team thinks that the exoplanet’s unusual behavior brought the comets closer to its host star.
Scientists explained that the exoplanet is located at an unusually long distance from the star, about 16 times farther than planet Pluto is from our star.
Paul Kalas of the University of California Berkeley noted that the planet might have dragged along material from the comet belt while it distanced itself away from its star. So, researchers carried out three rounds of tests to confirm whether the exoplanet is enveloped in a dust cloud, but they failed to reach a final conclusion.
Measurements showed that the exoplanet is ‘dustier’ than it should be, and a ring of dust around it would be ‘an exciting possibility,’ said Abhi Rajan, one of the researchers who analyzed the imagery.
Scientists now suggest that our solar system may have had more planets in its early times but those planets were expelled from the system just like the remote exoplanet was. Kalas believes that the freshly analyzed solar system may be a mirror image of our own solar system in its early days.
Berkeley researchers said that Kuiper belt lost a lot of material in those times, but they would need a time machine to see what really happened back then. The team plans to study further the gravitational disturbance of stars located outside our solar system to learn how exactly planets and other objects are kicked out.
There are two theories on how planets become exiled. The gravitational disturbance might have been generated by either a whizzing star or an extraordinarily large planet located in the system. The team looked for such planet in HD 106906’s system but they failed to find any within a Uranus-sized orbit.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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