The Newly discovered GJ 504b may have a lot to tell scientists about the formation of Jupiter-like planets. Credit: NASA.

Last week NASA published the discovery of a new planet about 57 light years from Earth, a planet now known as GJ504b.

The planet is about the size of Jupiter, but it is much more dense, several times its mass. Besides being Jupiter-size, it is actually the smallest planet ever directly imaged by a telescope. But what makes it special is its appearance, a colored deep magenta, clearly pink.

The planet orbits its sun in an immense orbit (43.5 astronomical units) which is about 44 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, a fact that puzzled scientists since its massive size are inconsistent with current planetary formation theories.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/NOAJ

The theories state that more massive planets form within an area of gravitational force closer to the planetary system’s star, created by mass collisions of debris, attracting gas-rich particles and eventually leading to the formation of larger planets.

The GJ504b resides in a region where this debris is thought not to have been significant enough to create a planet its size. The planet’s existence is a contradiction of current theories and will, therefore, be the cause of reexamination and reevaluation of current theories.

Direct Imaging of a Cold Jovian Exoplanet in Orbit around the Sun-like Star GJ 504