The recent discovery of a gargantuan exoplanet orbiting an unusually small star has astrophysicists questioning the validity of existing planet formation theories. Given its apparent size, the planet should not be able to form around such a small star, which begs for further experimentation and exploration.
The newfound planet, originally dubbed GJ 3512 B, is a massive gas giant that orbits nearly four times closer to its star than Jupiter does to ours. That would typically make this too hot for the planet to even exist around such a small star, which only has 6/10th the mass of the sun.
At the same time, the star is estimated to have formed nearly a billion years before the planet began to orbit around it. This raises the possibility of the planet having been formed at a more distant location and then slowly gravitating towards the star. Researchers are currently looking into various possible formation scenarios.
Whatever the case may be, this discovery underlines the complexity of the planet formation equations and the need for further research to be conducted. Future automated sky surveys and next-generation ground-based observatories will surely answer some of the questions raised by this remarkable find.
While it may not revolutionize planet formation theories altogether, it does add an interesting wrinkle to the questions that scientists have been mulling over for decades now. With dedicated research, we can expect the answers to start coming in soon.