How Could a Jupiter-sized Planet Orbit a Cool Star: New Observations Emerge

A warm Jupiter orbiting a cool star

A planet spotted getting in front of or transiting a low-mass star has been determined to be around Jupiter’s size. Hundreds of Jupiter-sized bodies have been observed so far, orbiting bigger Sun-like stars. It is so rare to spot these planets orbiting low-mass host stars, that’s why the discovery could help researchers to understand better how these massive planets evolve. 

The recent finding, however, is only the fifth Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a low-mass star. Also, it’s the first with such a prolonged orbital period. Here is what you need to know. 

Intriguing New Jupiter-sized Planet Found: Features and Other Details

Initially spotted by NASA’s TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), astronomers determined the new planet’s mass, orbital period, and radius using the HPF (the Habitable-zone Planet Finder).

The host star, dubbed TOI-1899, is a low-mass star approximately 419 light-years away from our planet. The planet, TOI-1899 b, is around two-thirds the mass of Jupiter, 10 % larger in radius than Jupiter, and 0,16 AU from its host star. A year on TOI-1899 takes only 29 Earth days. As a comparison, the other transiting Jupiter-sized planets complete their orbits in less than 4 days. 

From an orbital evolution and formation perspective, there is not a precise dividing line between warm Jupiters and the bigger planets even closer to their host stars, the more commonly found hot Jupiters. 

“[the recent finding] is a compelling target for atmospheric characterization with upcoming missions like the James Webb Space Telescope,” stated Suvrath Mahadevan, an astronomy professor at Penn State. 

In addition to data from HPF, more data was collected with the 3.5m Telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) and the 3m Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory for high-definition imaging and photometric observations with the 0.9m WIYN Telescope at KPNO, 0.43m telescope at the Richard S. Perkin Observatory, and 0.5m ARCSAT telescope at Apache Point Observatory. 

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