Jupiter is one of the most mysterious cosmic objects from our Solar Systems. It’s almost entirely made of gases, it’s hundreds of times bigger than Earth, and its huge gravity behaves like a protective shield against many huge asteroids and comets that could hit our planet.
Therefore, finding another planet that resembles the biggest planet from our Solar System can only represent one impressive discovery. Thanks to the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of NASA, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) astronomers have found an exoplanet that has a similar size to that of Jupiter, according to Phys.org.
TOI-3757 b enters the cosmic scene
TOI-3757 b is the designation of the newfound planet in question, and it orbits the star known as TOI-3757, which is located about 578 light-years away from Earth. Although the exoplanet has a very similar size to that of Jupiter, it’s over three times less massive than the gas giant of our Solar System. The star that hosts the TOI-3757b exoplanet is an M dwarf of spectral type M0V, and it’s smaller than our Sun.
Within their research paper, the scientists behind the discovery wrote, as Phys.org quotes:
We present the discovery and confirmation of TOI-3757 b, a Jovian sized planet, characterized using a combination of space based photometry from TESS, precise RVs [radial velocities] from HPF [Habitable-zone Planet Finder] and NEID [NN-explore Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy], ground based photometric observations from RBO [Red Buttes Observatory], and speckle imaging from NESSI [NN-Explore Exoplanet Stellar Speckle Imager],
Surely it’s a mystery how did the exoplanet come to have such low density. Astronomers have two theories. One of them is that an evolution mechanism might have been to blame, as it’s supposed to have caused an inflation of the planet triggered by tidal heating. The slightly eccentric orbit is thought to have played a role in this equation as well.