A team of Brazilian astronomers recently determined a giant exoplanet, over thirteen times more massive than Jupiter, is likely responsible for some funky orbital observations of a far away half-dead binary system. KIC 10544976 – or ‘the place where a big ass planet got discovered’ as we like to call it – is a binary system (comprised of two stars) considered to be ‘evolved.’ This means the massive planet is likely one of the more mature ones scientists have ever encountered.
We can’t actually see the planet, so part of Kepler’s mission from 2011 to 2018 was to observe the portion of space near the constellation named Cygnus “The Swan,” where the binary system called KIC 10544976 is located. According to the scientists: One possible explanation for the ETVs is the presence of a circumbinary body with a minimal mass of ∼13.4 M Jupiter. In the particular scenario of coplanarity between the external body and the inner binary, the third body mass is also ∼13.4 M Jupiter.
In this case, the circumbinary planet must either have survived the evolution of the host binary or have been formed as a consequence of its evolution. There’s currently no way for astronomers to tell if it’s a planet that could support life or any other topographical features yet. Astronomers find evidence of a planet with a mass almost 13 times that of Jupiter on EurekAlert!