ANALYSIS: Kepler Watches White Dwarf Warp Spacetime
The exoplanet detected in this case has a mass of approximately eight times that of Jupiter and its star is likely an M-type star, around one third the mass of our sun. The exoplanet has an orbital distance of nearly 4 astronomical units (AU); or four-times the Earth-sun distance. From this observation, some interesting science can be done.
It would appear that MOA-2011-BLG-322′s massive planet exists in an orbit beyond its host star's "snowline". This is a region around any given star where protoplanetary material in the protoplanetary disk of a young star begins to freeze, making it a ripe environment for planets to form. However, this world appears to be too massive for its comparatively close orbit.
"According to the core accretion scenario, Jovian planets form beyond the snowlines of their parent stars, but massive planets around M-type stars should be rare, since their formation times are longer than the typical disk lifetime," the researchers write. "In the disk instability planet-formation scenario massive planets do form around M stars, but at distances of over 7 AU."