This image provided by Guillem Anglada-Escude shows a comparison of orbits of the red dwarf star GJ 3512 and its newly identified gas giant planet GJ 5312b, center, to the Earth's solar system and other nearby red-dwarf planetary systems. On Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, astronomers reported they’ve found the Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star that’s a mere 12% the mass of our sun. There may even be another big gas planet lurking in the GJ 3512 system 31 light-years away. (Guillem Anglada-Escude/IEEC, SpaceEngine.org via AP)

Big world around tiny star puts new spin on planet formation

September 26, 2019 - 1:03 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A giant world discovered around a tiny star is putting a new spin on how planets form.

Astronomers reported Thursday they've found a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a star that's a mere 12% the mass of our sun. There may even be another big gas planet lurking in this system 31 light-years away.

The Spanish-led team writes in the journal Science that the newly confirmed planet did not form the usual, gradual way, where a solid core of merging particles takes shape before a gas buildup. Instead, in a surprise to scientists, the planet seems to have arisen straight from gas.

Lead author Juan Carlos Morales of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia says the planet may be almost as big as its star. A year there is 200 days.

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