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2021-12-17 15:01:00 Space
The VLT telescope has discovered a planet that, according to all theories, should not exist

The VLT (Very Large Telescope) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has long been used to search for and study various cosmic objects such as exoplanets, stars, black holes, etc. Recently, this telescope has obtained an image of a planet located in a binary star system called b Centauri, which, incidentally, can be seen in the sky with the naked eye. But most interesting is the fact that the b Centauri system is the hottest and most massive star system in which a planet has been discovered.

Planet b Centauri (AB) has managed to 'survive' because it orbits the stars at a distance 100 times the distance from the Sun to Jupiter. Until recently, astronomers were convinced that planets could not nucleate and exist near stars as large and massive as those in the b Centauri system, and the discovery of such a planet challenges virtually all existing related theories.

The b Centauri star system is in the constellation Centauri, about 325 light years from the Sun. One of the stars in this binary system is at least six times larger and more massive than the Sun, making it the most massive system with planets known. For reference, the star of the next most massive system with planets is only three times larger than the Sun.

Such massive stars do not normally have planets, because they are so hot, and evaporate all the matter in their surroundings rather quickly with light, ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. The hottest star in the b Centauri system is B-type, with a surface temperature three times that of the Sun.

B-type stars have a very violent and hot environment around them, in which the normal rate of planet formation is highly unlikely. However, the discovery of planet b Centauri (AB) suggests that the probability of planet formation in such conditions is still greater than zero. Of course, we cannot even begin to speculate about the existence of life on this planet, as its entire surface is constantly exposed to extremely powerful radiation streams from the stars of the system.

The planet b Centauri (AB) is about ten times the size of Jupiter, making it one of the largest known planets. As mentioned above, it orbits the stars at a distance 100 times the distance from the Sun to Jupiter, which is also a record for orbital width.

The planet b Centauri (AB) was discovered using the SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research) instrument on the VLT telescope. However, this is not the first time this planet has been seen by Earth-based telescopes. Scientists examined archived data and found the first image of the planet b Centauri (AB) taken more than two decades ago with the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-metre telescope. But at the time, the b Centauri (AB) object was not identified as a planet.

Despite its discovery, the planet b Centauri (AB) still holds many mysteries, chief among them its formation under extraordinary conditions in a binary star system. Astronomers hope that some of these mysteries can be solved with improvements to the VLT telescope, which is already being upgraded, and with the new Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), which has been under construction for several years in the Chilean desert.

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