Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

This planet’s rings are so big they blot out their star’s light

PDS 110’s mysterious eclipses may be caused by one big natural megastructure.

giantringedp
University of Warwick

Something is amiss with young star PDS 110. Every two-and-a-half years, the star dips down by 30 percent in brightness — more than the “maaaaaaybe it’s aliens” weird dimming of Tabby’s Star. But where a few people think Tabby’s Star may be blocked by artificial megastructures, the dimming around PDS 110 may be caused by much more natural ones.

 

In a paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers put forth a startling cause for the dips: a massive planet with a ring system that stretches far, far beyond the planet. The object may be 50 times the mass of Jupiter, which makes it an extremely large planet or a small brown dwarf.

 

Because the planet is in its star’s habitable zone, there’s some chatter that it could have habitable exomoons. The next transit is expected to take place in September of this year, which could help further draw out details of this unusual system.


0

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of Astronomy.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
exoticobjectspromo

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook