The University of Hawaii researchers recently illustrated an exoplanet to 35-light years away from Earth, the nearest one to be imaged so far.
A Mail Online report specified that over 4,000 exoplanets had been verified with over 7,000 possible candidates and this latest find quite stands out among the rest.
Called COCONUTS-2b, this new planet is circling its star at a distance of 6,000 farther than the Earth, circling the sun, enabling it to be considered the "second-coldest imaged exoplanet" discovered at present.
With a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit, this newly found exoplanet's temperature is cooler than ovens used for baking cookies.
Describing the exoplanet, lead author Zhoujian Zhang said, with a gigantic planet on an ultra-wide separation orbit, it has a very cool central star. It also depicts a very different planetary system compared to Earth's own solar system.
NASA has identified the Epsilon Eridani as the planet nearest the solar system. The agency added, it is 10.5 light-years away.
Orbiting a low-mass red dwarf star, COCONUTS-2b, is part of the newly titled COCONUTS-2 planetary system. Authors of the study, The Second Discovery from the COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS (COCONUTS) Program: A Cold Wide-Orbit Exoplanet around a Young Field M Dwarf at 10.9 pc, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, were able to directly image the exoplanet due to the light released from remaining heat that has been emitted since the formation of the planet.
Nevertheless, since the energy production is one million times weaker than the sun's, the study authors were only able to identify it through lower-energy infrared light.
According to the study's co-author Michael Liu, detecting and examining the light from gas-giant planets around the stars is very difficult in general since the planets found typically have small-separation orbits and, therefore, are buried in the glare of the light of their host star.
Liu added, with its massive orbital separation, this newly-discovered exoplanet will be a great lab for investigating the composition and atmosphere of a young gas-giant planet.
With Mass 6X That of Jupiter
The said Mail Online report also specified that the study authors were able to image COCONUTS-2b, which has a mass six times of Jupiter, through the use of the COCONUTS or COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS survey.
This exoplanet was first detected by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite in 2011, but it was believed to be a free-floating object at the same time and not orbiting a star.
Zhang and other researchers eventually found that it is bound to its star, with a mass one-third of the sun, more than four billion years old, and is approximately 10 times younger.
Given that there is quite a wide distance between COCONUTS-2B and its host star, it is possible that its skies would appear substantially different when compared to this planet, as both daytime and nighttime would be approximately the same, with the star appearing bright red in the sky.
Because of COCONUT-2b's wide separation orbit and cool host star, skies would appear significantly different to an observer there compared to the skies on earth.
A similar report about COCONUT-2B is shown on Space Sci Network's YouTube video below:
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