The Very Large Telescope in Chile – and an instrument on the telescope called NACO – were used to capture this image of the star GQ Lupi and its companion, called GQ Lupi b. The companion might be a super-Jupiter exoplanet, or a brown dwarf. If ultimately classified as an exoplanet, it’ll have a maximum radius of 6.5 times that of Jupiter (about 600,000 miles, or 930,000 km, wide). This would make GQ Lupi b one of largest exoplanets known. Image via ESO/ Wikipedia.
Last July, astronomers said they’d found a moon-forming disk of dust around a large exoplanet, about 400 light-years from Earth. It was the first clear evidence of a moon-forming disk – aka a circumplanetary disk – around a young giant exoplanet. On October 13, 2021, astronomers said they’d found another one. They said they believe a similar disk moves around the super-Jupiter exoplanet GQ Lupi b, located about 495 light-years away. So this super-Jupiter, too, might be forming its own moons. Wow!
Tomas Stolker at Leiden University in the Netherlands led the new study. The peer-reviewed Astronomical Journal will be publishing their findings. In the meantime, here’s a free preprint.
Is this really a moon-forming disk?