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article imageNew exoplanet disproves theories on star and planet formation

By Cameron Christner     Dec 8, 2013 in Science
Once again revealing to the human race just how much we don't know, the newly discovered exoplanet HD 106906b has been found to defy long-held beliefs on how planets and stars are formed.
This gas giant is 11 times the size of Jupiter, and is located in the Crux constellation, 300 light-years away from Earth. But that's not what makes this planet unique.
The truly strange thing that has astronomers scratching their heads is the impossibly lengthy distance between the planet and its star.
Previously, the most accepted theory on planet formation was that space debris will coalesce over millions of years, eventually forming planets. But the farther a planet is from its star, the weaker the gravitational forces pulling in that debris.
This explains our solar system perfectly, and also describes why the inner planets are solid, while those farther out are gas giants. However, HD 106906b apparently defies the rules.
According to the theory, the planet should not exist so far away from its star, and the fact that it does may send scientists back to the drawing board when it comes to star and planet formation.
Leading the expedition is Vanessa Bailey, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, who told reporters that "This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see."
Bailey and her team hope that further investigation will yield answers, and are optimistic that the solution will be revealed with time.
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