Record objects always attract our attention because they surprise with their unusual indicators. Today we will get acquainted with the planet, which is considered one of the most ancient. What is the name of the venerable old woman?
Introducing the exoplanet PSR B1620−26 b. However, the second name, Methuselah, tells more about its nature. Recall that Methuselah in the Bible was the name of one of the forefathers of humanity, who lived for 969 years. Well, the planet decided not to fall behind in age.
The world is distant from us at 12,400 light years and is located on the territory of the constellation Scorpio. So, the estimated age of Methuselah is 12.7 billion years! The place of residence is also interesting, as the planet rotates in a binary star system between a pulsar (100 axial rotations per second) and a white dwarf (0.34 solar mass).
Stars are separated from each other by 1 a. e. Methuselah rotates at a distance of 23 a. E., Spending on the rotation around the stars for about a century. The planet was first noticed in the 1990s, and its planetary status was obtained in 1993.
Methuselah is a type of pulsar planets, and exceeds Jupiter by 2.5 times. It is worth remembering that the planet is in an exotic habitat. Researchers believe that pulsar planets do not appear near pulsars. The fact is that a pulsar is a star that survived a supernova explosion (the planet could not resist).
The estimated orbit of Methuselah
Most likely, Methuselah rotated near the star object, which moved to the stage of the red giant. Then this star system was pulled by a nearby pulsar. Pulsar gradually took the substance from the red giant, increasing its speed. At the same time, the red giant reached a critical mass threshold, threw away the outer layers and became a white dwarf. It is surprising that with all these events the planet managed to remain whole. But let's go back to age. It is believed that the universe exists about 13.8 billion years. The Big Bang model shows that the first stars began to emerge 200 million years after the birth of the Universe. For a long time it was believed that the first planets could not appear after a billion years after the Big Bang, because the first generation of stars did not produce heavy elements (only hydrogen and helium).
The situation with the age of Methuselah forced the researchers to reconsider the time threshold for the formation of planets. It was suggested that the stars in ancient times were located closer to each other and, perhaps, the formation of heavy elements occurred faster and more actively than we thought.
Scientists are still arguing about the exact age of the planet Methuselah, because one cannot exclude the possibility of an error in calculations and observations. If this world is younger, the gas giants HIP 11952 b and HIP 11952C, located at a distance of 375 light years in the constellation of China, will get the record. Their estimated age reaches 12.5–12.8 billion years (figures are still clarifying).