Exoplanet Is Kicked Out Of The Solar System By Its Own Star

Posted: Dec 2 2015, 7:45am CST | by , Updated: Dec 2 2015, 8:35pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Exoplanet is Kicked Out of the Solar System by its Own Star
A wide-angle view of the star HD 106906 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit:Paul Kalas image, UC Berkeley

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The images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that exoplanet HD 106906 b has its own ring of dust and gas.

NASA Hubble Space Telescope has captured new images of an exoplanet which is unusually distant from its host star, almost 16 times farther than Pluto is from the Sun.

New images reveal that there is a lopsided comet belt around the star, which is indicative of a disturbed solar system and this cluster of comets might have sent the exocplanet into exile.

More surprisingly, the exoplanet has its own ring of dust and gas and is looking like another star rather than an orbiting planet.

“We think that the planet itself could have captured material from the comet belt, and that the planet is surrounded by a large dust ring or dust shroud,” said Paul Kalas, a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. “We conducted three tests and found tentative evidence for a dust cloud, but the jury is still out.”

The findings are exciting for astronomers since something like that might have happened to our own system. Scientists believe that our solar system has one more planet which might have been ejected by another planet and the ouster was presumably Jupiter.

“Is this a picture of our solar system when it was 13 million years old?” said Kalas. “We know that our own belt of comets, the Kuiper belt, lost a large fraction of its mass as it evolved, but we don’t have a time machine to go back and see how it was decimated. One of the ways, though, is to study these violent episodes of gravitational disturbance around other young stars that kick out many objects, including planets.”

The exoplanet HD 106906 b was discovered last year and is located in the distant suburb of a young star. Planets do not stay far away from their stars, which makes this exoplanet different from the other planets.

Kalas said. “These discoveries suggest that the entire planetary system has been recently jostled by an unknown perturbation to its current asymmetric state.”

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