It’s no secret that our galaxy is stuffed with alien worlds — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t surprises hiding in the dark.
Take, for example, the exoplanet du jour: a recently unveiled, massive planet orbiting an itty-bitty star. Called NGTS-1b, the planet is a beast about the mass of Jupiter. But it orbits an old, dim red dwarf just half the sun’s width. It’s the largest planet relative to its star found to date, and is tucked so close to that star that a year on NGTS-1b lasts just 2.6 Earth-days.
It’s an arrangement that scientists didn’t expect to see, because current theories of planet formation suggest that small stars grow small planets, and bigger stars grow bigger planets.