Newly Discovered World Is The Closest Directly Imaged Exoplanet Ever , COCONUTS !
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Location: Valles Marineris
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posted on Aug, 3 2021 @ 02:04 PM
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COCONUTS 2b that is , just 35 light years away a Star called COCONUTS 2 hosts a gas giant Planet called COCONUTS 2b , luckily for us the Planet orbits it’s parent Star at an impressive 6,471 times the distance between Earth and the Sun away from it’s parent allowing us to get a picture and making it the closest Exoplanet we’ve imaged so far, the great distance also means a year on / in COCONUTS 2b takes 1.1 million years !
COCONUTS 2b is the red dot top left.
Not only is COCONUTS-2b (named for the COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS survey) the closest directly imaged exoplanet to Earth to date – at a distance of just 35 light-years – it’s a rarity among exoplanet discoveries: a relatively cool, massive gas giant, orbiting its star at a great distance.
“With a massive planet on a super-wide-separation orbit, and with a very cool central star, COCONUTS-2 represents a very different planetary system than our own Solar System,” said astronomer Zhoujian Zhang of the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy.
What made it visible is that, although it’s cool for a gas giant exoplanet, it’s still pretty warm, with a temperature of around 434 Kelvin (161 degrees Celsius, or 322 degrees Fahrenheit), in spite of its distance from the warmth of the star.
COCONUTS-2b is still quite young, up to only around 800 million years; its warm temperature is residual heat from the exoplanet’s formation, trapped inside the massive exoplanet, six times the mass of Jupiter. This heat means that the exoplanet faintly glows in infrared wavelengths – enough to be discernible in direct images.
Its huge orbital distance will have other benefits for future research, too. It may be able to help us better understand how gas giants form, a process that we still don’t understand very well – and taking a closer look at it will help us better understand gas giant diversity.
Exciting stuff… We’re getting there!