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Large Exoplanet and Small Star Pairing Baffles Astronomers

posted: 05/04/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
A cloudy exoplanet.
DCL

Astronomers from Australian National University are questioning our understanding of planetary formation after discovering a large exoplanet that orbits a disproportionately smaller star.

"It must have formed further out and migrated in, but our theories can't explain how this happened," commented astronomer George Zhou. "The atmosphere of this planet will be an interesting target for future study," he added.

While the exoplanet is the size of Jupiter, its host star emits only 5% of the light of our sun. The star is classified as an M-dwarf, one of the most abundant yet least understood types of stars in the universe. M-dwarf stars are cool and dim, which makes them difficult to study.

Click here for more information from Australian National University

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