Using infrared data from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, an international team of astronomers has imaged a giant planet around the bright star GJ 504. Several times the mass of Jupiter and similar in size, the new world, dubbed GJ 504b, is the lowest-mass planet ever detected around a star like the sun using direct imaging techniques.

If we could travel to this giant planet, we would see a world still glowing from the heat of its formation with a color reminiscent of a dark cherry blossom, a dull magenta.

GJ 504b orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun, which poses a challenge to theoretical ideas of how giant planets form.

GJ 504b is about four times more massive than Jupiter and has an effective temperature of about 460 degrees Fahrenheit (237 Celsius). It orbits the G0-type star GJ 504, which is slightly hotter than the sun and is faintly visible to the unaided eye in the constellation Virgo. The star lies 57 light-years away and the team estimates the system is about 160 million years old, based on methods that link the star's color and rotation period to its age.

PLANET TYPE
Gas Giant
DISCOVERY DATE
2013
MASS
4 Jupiters
PLANET RADIUS
Unknown
ORBITAL RADIUS
43.5 AU
ORBITAL PERIOD
259.9 years
ECCENTRICITY
Unknown
DETECTION METHOD
Imaging