In a remarkable discovery, scientists have spotted a supermassive planet which is so large that it may not be actually classified as a planet. The newly discovered planet named as OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb is situated in the hostile environment of the ‘galactic bulge’ at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The gigantic planet is believed to be more than 13 times larger than Jupiter, our solar system’s largest planet. The planet is situated about 22,000 light years away from Earth. Actually, the planet was first discovered in June 2016 as a microlensing event by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) collaboration. Then after some days, Spitzer observed these microlensing events.
An international team of researchers led by Yoon-Hyun Ryu of the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute in Daejeon, South Korea, informed that these Spitzer observations detected a new, massive planet orbiting a dwarf star. They noted that they have detected OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb, which is likely to be the first Spitzer microlensing planet in the galactic bulge/bar, an assignation that can be confirmed by two epochs of high-resolution imaging of the combined source-lens baseline object.
The mass of the planet is so huge that it cannot be called as a planet. It might be called as a brown dwarf, also known as a failed star. Such high mass puts the object right at the deuterium burning limit-the conventional boundary between planets and brown dwarfs. The researchers said that since the existence of the brown dwarf desert is the signature of different formation mechanisms for stars and planets, the extremely close proximity of OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb to this desert raises the question of whether it is truly a ‘planet’ (by formation mechanism) and therefore reacts back upon its role tracing the galactic distribution of planets. OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb orbits its parent star approximately every three years at a distance of about 2.0 AU. The host is a G dwarf with a mass of 0.89 solar masses.