The largest planet in the universe.
When they say “the largest planet”, Jupiter immediately comes to mind. Yes, this giant is more than 11 times the diameter of the Earth, and 317 times heavier. Compared to this planet, the earth is just a dwarf, suitable only for satellites. Of course, Jupiter is the king in our Solar System, only the Sun is bigger than it. However, everything in the world is relative.
Therefore, Jupiter is not the largest planet known to science. After all, thousands of planets have now been discovered near other stars, and some of them are very strange and remarkable. Each such planet is a world unlike the others, and you can write a separate article about each of them.
The record holder that was broken is Tres-4b.
Until recently, the record holder in terms of size was the planet Tres-4b, located in the constellation Hercules. From 2006 until 2011, it was the largest planet in the universe. It is 1,706 times the size of Jupiter, almost twice. Curiously, this planet is located in a binary system, and other similar ones are not yet known, because in such systems, the gravitational forces of two stars act, preventing the formation of planets and stable orbits.
The planet Tres-4b is a gas giant similar to Jupiter, and is located very close to its star – only 4.5 million kilometers away. For comparison, the distance from the Sun to Mercury, the hottest planet in our system – 58 million kilometers, and to the Earth – 150 million!
Tres-4b completes a full orbit in just 3.5 days, and this gas ball is very hot – its temperature exceeds 1700 degrees. Hot gas tends to expand, so this planet is “loose”, its density is very low, on average, like foam or balsa wood. This is very small.
Although Tres-4b is a large planet, its mass is slightly less than that of Jupiter, so it has less gravity. This hot gas planet, with its large size and low gravity, is unable to retain its substance, so it constantly loses it from its atmosphere. This plume of gas follows the planet like a comet’s tail.
This planet is a mystery to scientists. With such a gigantic size and disproportionately small mass, it simply should not exist. Yes, now it is losing mass, but how could it be formed at all under such conditions? Maybe it wasn’t as hot once, so it was smaller and denser, like Jupiter. Then it was in the past much further away from the star, or was captured by the star somewhere along the way.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to see this planet live in the foreseeable future – the distance to it is unimaginably large, 1,600 light-years.
This huge planet was discovered by the transit method back in 2006, and the results were published a year later.
The program under which the research was conducted is called the TrES-Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey, or Transatlantic Exoplanet Survey. It involves three small 10-centimeter telescopes from different observatories, equipped with Schmidt cameras and auto-search. In total, five exoplanets were discovered as part of this program, including Tres-4b.
The largest planet in the universe is HAT-P-32b.
In 2011, the new largest planet in the universe was discovered, which turned out to be larger than Tres-4b. It is located in the constellation Andromeda, at a distance of 1044 light-years from us.
This planet has a radius of 2.037 times that of Jupiter, meaning it is slightly larger than Tres-4b. But its mass is about the same, and slightly less than that of Jupiter. Otherwise, the HAT-P-32b is very similar to the Tres-4b.
This planet is also a hot gas ball, even hotter. Its temperature reaches 1888 degrees. This planet is also located close to the star – at a distance of about 5 million kilometers, and because of the huge temperature, its gas also expands and is lost. Therefore, its density is also small.
Scientists are constantly discovering new planets in other stars, and it is possible that this record will be broken, and soon we will learn about the other largest planet in the Universe.