It happened on the fourth of december 2013, the doctoral student miss Vanessa Bailey and her team of astronomers from the university of Arizona observed the star HD 106906 in the Chilean Atacama Desert with a mighty 6.5 meter telescope. This star is located in the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross), 300 light years away from us.
The researchers became aware of the star because it was surrounded by a strange glow. After evaluating a few images, Vanessa Bailey realized that the glow came from a giant planet standing between the star and the lens of the telescope. The dimensions of the object were very impressive.
This huge planet is eleven times bigger than Jupiter, its mass is thus more than five times as big as the mass of all planets in our solar system. The surface temperature is a fabulous 1500 degrees Celsius, which is many times hotter than the surface of Venus and Mercury.
On the scale, however, such dimensions and temperatures are by no means unique in our universe. There are many cosmic objects that are even bigger and hotter, but this planet has more unique and bizarre surprises in store.
In fact, there is no plausible theory that explains how HD 106906 b was created. According to all the laws of the universe discovered so far, this object, like all planets, must have originated from a protoplanetary disk, a vortex of small particles and gas revolving around a star. From this will later form a planet.
But here is HD 106906 B inexplicably far away, 97 billion kilometers from the mother star. That would be as if a mother had born her child in America while she was lying in the hospital in Europe. Scientists have been trying for some time to understand how this positioning could have come about.
The first thought was that the planet must have somehow migrated around its current position, after all gas giants do exactly that after they have reached about 30 earth masses, that is slightly less than three Jupiter masses. Gas giants with their enormous gravitational pull begin to absorb all the gas around them and collect mass, like a huge cosmic snowball. When this material is exhausted after a few million years, the planet can emigrate billions of kilometers into the vastness of its solar system.
But this theory could not be applied here. If HD 106906 b were indeed a migrant, it would have left evidence in the circumstellar dust and gas clouds and changed its shape.