Although it may seem confusing, the picture below is one of those important moments for science, especially astronomy. With the help of Subaru Telescope located in Hawaii, scientists discovered a new exoplanet which is classified as super-Jupiter - the Kappa Andromedae b (Kappa And b, for short), as it was named, has a mass of 12.8 times more then Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The planet is orbiting a star that is 170 light years from Earth. For scientists, this discovery is an interesting characteristics of the new star. As a new star, the Kappa And b has mass that puts it in the threshold between a massive planet and a brown dwarf. A division of "super-Jupiter", according to press release published by NASA, is used to keep both possibilities.
Another point that makes the discovery important is the fact is the star that it orbits, Kappa Andromedae, also explores an astronomical limit. According to the current model, it would be unable to generate a planet like Kappa And b - the more massive younger a star is, the hotter and brighter it becomes, emitting radiation so strong that it can stop the planet formation within a given radius.
- Michael McElwain, member of the team responsible for the discovery.
But despite Kappa And to have a mass of 2.5 times bigger than our sun and be a bit young – about 30 million years (from about 5 billion years old star orbited) - the newfound super-jupiter ended up graduating within that disk radiation emitted by the star. A paper describing the details of the discovery will be published in the next volume of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Meanwhile, the team continues studying Kappa And b to better understand the formation and characteristics of the planet.