New Planet Helps Solve Mysteries Of Red Giant Parents

December 2, 2008

US (Chattahbox) – A new planet has been discovered outside of out solar system, orbiting a red giant approximately 1,200 light-years away. The planet, which has a mass almost six times greater then Jupiter, has astronomers excited about the possibility of emerging facts of the state of space outside of out solar system.

Scientists suspect that there may be other worlds orbiting outside of our solar system, which would mean that this is the first red giant to support multiple orbiting planets, giving new insight into how such phenomenon works.

Red Giants are stars that have used up all their hydrogen resources and so have ‘burnt out’, leaving behind an expanding outer shell filled with burning helium. Over time the former star will balloon to over 100 times it’s original size, destroying all planets orbiting it. Over time one planet within a certain distance will orbit closer, using it as a red giant parent.

This new planet has orbited closer then any ever discovered before (0.6 AU, or 6 times the distance between Earth and the Sun), changing the theories on the minimum distance a planet can orbit a red giant without being destroyed.

According to Alexander Wolszczan, a researcher and astrophysicist at Penn State University, “When red-giant stars expand, they tend to eat up the nearby planets. There appears to be a zone of avoidance around such stars of about 0.6 astronomical units.”

Scientists believe that this is something that will occur within our solar system, when out sun finally exhausts it’s hydrogen resources, destroying most of the planets within the closest orbiting distance, within the next few billion years.


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