In our solar system, Jupiter is widely recognized as the largest planet based on its size and mass. However, there are numerous other planets that surpass Jupiter in size. Regrettably, at present, we cannot definitively determine which planet holds the title of being the largest. In fact, there are multiple contenders for this distinction. The lack of certainty arises from the ambiguity surrounding their sizes and the criteria used to define a planet. Take a look at the insights shared by Thayne Currie, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
What is the largest planet in the universe?
According to a Space.com report, Currie says the largest planet ever known is called ROXs 42Bb. The size of a planet depends on many factors, but the planet ROXs 42Bb is known as the largest gas giant and has a mass 9 times that of Jupiter. The planet is located 460 light years from Earth. In addition, its radius is about 2.5 times larger than that of Jupiter. ROX planet data 42Bb was collected using the Keck Space Telescope in 2013. However, Currie suspects that the planet is the largest, as other planets are present at similar sizes or even larger.
Currie said, “There are a couple of planets that are actually protoplanets, so they’re still being assembled. I would suspect they’re actually bigger.” He also talked about two protoplanets orbiting a star called PDS 70, located about 370 light-years from Earth and twice the size of Jupiter. Planet HAT-P-67 is also the largest planet in the race, as it has a radius twice that of Jupiter, which is similar to ROXs 42Bb.
There are several ways scientists measure the largest planet in the universe, due to different measurements and methods that introduce uncertainty. So far, there’s no consistent way to measure a planet’s size, so their properties are measured by patterns in their brightness and wavelengths of light, Space.com reports.
Uncertainty arises from direct imaging and assuming size from the data. Although the Keck Space Telescope image is direct, it adds a virtual display, while for others the size is assumed based on several indirect data. Size is inferred from the light they emit, including “brightness and wavelength patterns.”
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