New planet discovery 'pushes the boundaries' of what we know
THE University of Southern Queensland was part of a team of international researchers behind the discovery of an exoplanet that "pushes the boundaries" of what we know about planets.
A new study, published by Caltech in the United States, which lists USQ as a co-author, revealed Planet HR 5183 b has three times the mass of Jupiter and travels on an incredibly long, egg-shaped path around its host star.
USQ astrophysicist Professor Jonti Horner said the planet, which scientists have been observing for about 20 years, had an elongated eccentric orbit.
"It's a massive planet, moving in a peculiar orbit that we don't really see in our solar system," he said.
"It's moving in an orbit much more like a comet than a planet."
Professor Horner said this discovery could provide scientists with greater insight into how planets form and how they evolve over time.
"What (this planets orbit and size) suggests is that the planet either had a very chaotic or crazy history, or formed in different ways to the planets in our solar system," he said.
"It's a window into how other planetary systems form and evolve and shows there is many more varieties of planets out there than we can imagine."
Professor Horner said HR 5183 b was discovered using a radial velocity discovery technique. It is currently the longest observed planet using this technique.