Washington: An international team of astronomers has spotted a giant planet around the bright star GJ 504, using infrared data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
Several times the mass of Jupiter and similar in size, the new world, dubbed GJ 504b, is the lowest-mass planet ever detected around a star like the sun using direct imaging techniques.
Glowing a dark magenta, the newly discovered exoplanet GJ 504b weighs in with about four times Jupiter`s mass, making it the lowest-mass planet ever directly imaged around a star like the sun.
"If we could travel to this giant planet, we would see a world still glowing from the heat of its formation with a color reminiscent of a dark cherry blossom, a dull magenta," Michael McElwain, a member of the discovery team at NASA`s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, said.
"Our near-infrared camera reveals that its color is much more blue than other imaged planets, which may indicate that its atmosphere has fewer clouds," he said.
GJ 504b orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun, which poses a challenge to theoretical ideas of how giant planets form.
The researchers find that GJ 504b is about four times more massive than Jupiter and has an effective temperature of about 460 degrees Fahrenheit (237 Celsius).
It orbits the G0-type star GJ 504, which is slightly hotter than the sun and is faintly visible to the unaided eye in the constellation Virgo.
The star lies 57 light-years away and the team estimates the systems is about 160 million years, based on methods that link the star`s color and rotation period to it age.
The findings are set to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Photo credit: NASA`s Goddard Space Flight Center/S Wiessinger