Newly-discovered ‘puffy’ planet contradicts previous research on planet formation

The newly discovered planet that is named HATS-6b has changed the way research scientists view the formation of planets. The discovery was made by an international group of experts, the HAT South team, who are made up of researchers from Princeton, the Max Planck Institute, and the Australian National University.

Researchers are stating that the planet resembles Jupiter in size. George Zhou from ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics stated that HATS-6b was circling a small sun-like star called HATS-6.

The newly discovered planet is being coined ‘puffy’ because Mr. Zhou said that HATS-6b is a ‘puffy’ planet due to its large size which is not particularly dense. He also stated that the planet probably formed further out and then migrated in. ‘But our theories can’t explain how this happened,’ he said.

Zhou continued elaborating on the makeup of the new planet by describing it as a large entity but not one that is particularly dense. He explained that they had had the opportunity to measure the mass and the radius of the planet which is what gives it its density. He stated that the density is less than that of the mass of Saturn. ‘If there was a large enough pool (of water) and you dropped Saturn into it, it would float’, he said.

In addition to the discovery of ‘puffy,’ Zhou went on to explain that an additional 1,000 potential planet candidates have been discovered and may be transiting planets. Unfortunately, there may not be sufficient resources to follow up on these 1,000 potential planets.


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