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article imageLongest planetary orbit discovered

By Tim Sandle     Jun 2, 2014 in Science
Nearly 156 light-years from Earth, the planet GU Psc b has the longest ever planetary orbit recorded. It takes over 160,000 years to orbit its sun and it has been detected by Canadian astrophysicists.
The planet orbits 2,000 times farther from its cool, red star (GU Piscium) than Earth does around the sun, making it possibly the longest planetary orbit known. One year on GU Psc b, which sits in the constellation Pisces, lasts nearly 163,000 Earth years. The immense distance between the planet and its star sets this system apart from the others detected so far.
According to Nature, astronomers spotted the planet as a speck of infrared light following its sun across the sky. The planet glows in infrared because it is relatively young, just 100 million years old. Moreover, the planet is still cooling. The planet is located 155 light-years from our own stellar system.
The escaping heat warms the planet to roughly 800º Celsius. Based on its age and brightness, astronomers estimate that the body is nine to 13 times as massive as Jupiter, making it a very massive planet.
The discovery was made by an international team of astronomers lead by Marie-Eve Naud of the Université de Montréal in Quebec, combining observations from telescopes of the Gemini Observatory, the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM), the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the W.M. Keck Observatory.
The identification of the planet has been reported to the Astrophysical Journal, in a paper titled “Discovery of a wide planetary-mass companion to the young M3 star GU PSC.”
More about Planet, Orbit, GU Psc b, Earth
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