A planet thought to have been free floating in space is actually in a colossal orbit around a star 1 trillion kilometers away.
That’s according to a team of astronomers in the UK, U.S. and Australia, who revealed this week that snappily-named planet 2MASS J2126 is in an orbit around its star 7,000-times the size of Earth’s orbit around the sun.
Their findings were published in the “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.”
Record breaking orbit
“This is the widest planet system found so far and both the members of it have been known for eight years, but nobody had made the link between the objects before,” said lead author Dr Niall Deacon of the University of Hertfordshire in a statement about the findings.
“The planet is not quite as lonely as we first thought, but it’s certainly in a very long distance relationship.”
Previously it had been thought that 2MASS J2126 was a free-floating or “rogue” planet, adrift in the depths of space untethered to any star.
However, observations of the star and planet revealed that the two were moving through space together and appeared to be associated.
“How such a wide planetary system forms and survives remains an open question,” Simon Murphy of Australian National University said in a statement.
At 1 trillion kilometers from its parent star, 2MASS J2126 has the widest orbit of any planet found, one that takes nearly 900,000 years to complete.
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SOURCE: CNN, James Griffiths