Lonely planet takes a million years to orbit

Lonely planet takes a million years to orbit

A lonely planet has been found a trillion kilometres from its sun making it part of the largest solar system ever found so far.

The planet, with the catchy name of 2MASS J2126−8140, takes nearly a million Earth years to orbit its host star and its orbit is more than 140 times wider than Pluto's.

The find was published in the Monthly Notices of The Royal Astronomical Society today and scientists were astounded by the discovery.

"We were very surprised to find such a low-mass object so far from its parent star," said Dr Simon Murphy of the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

It's also interesting in that the system was created in a much different way to ours.

"There is no way it formed in the same way as our solar system did, from a large disc of dust and gas," Dr Murphy says.

The distance between the two is nearly three times the distance of the previous widest pair.

The planet's parent is a red dwarf with an equally memorable name, TYC 9486-927-1, and would appear as a moderately bright star in the sky. It would take about a month for light to reach it.

A team of international scientists studied 2MASS J2126−8140,  a gas planet around 12 to 15 times the mass of Jupiter,  as part of a survey of several thousand young stars and brown dwarfs near our solar system.

The link between the two is so weak, however, that any nearby star wold have disrupted their orbit completely.

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