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HD 106906 b

So there is a planet that is so far away from its host Star that it has astronomers rethinking the very way that solar systems are formed.  It has been dubbed HD 106906 b.


On December 4, 2013, University of Arizona graduate student Vanessa Bailey, leader of an international team of astronomers, detailed the discovery of the planet HD 106906 b with a paper published as pre-print on arXiv.

Here is a snippet from her entry on the incredibly fascinating arXive (pronounced “archive”):

We report the discovery of a planetary-mass companion, HD 106906 b, with the new Magellan Adaptive Optics (MagAO) + Clio2 system. The companion is detected with Clio2 in three bands: J, KS, and L′, and lies at a projected separation of 7.1” (650 AU).

Emphasis mine. But it is the part of her team’s submission that has astronomers the world over going back to their drawing boards. An AU is an astronomical unit, or, the distance between the Earth and Sun.