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Scientists uncover new alien planet hiding a mind-boggling secret at its core

A NEWFOUND alien planet is hiding a powerful secret at its core.

It is the first planet to be discovered by Europe’s Gaia spacecraft, which started its space-bound mission a decade ago.


The planet is around a third larger than our Sun and about 13 times bigger than Jupiter (pictured)

An international team of scientists found the exoplanet while observing stars around 130 light-years from Earth.

The planet is around a third larger than our Sun and about 13 times bigger than Jupiter – the largest planet in our solar system.

And it appears to have nuclear fusion ongoing inside.

When looking at the planet, scientists noticed it brightening and dimming, which led them to believe its core is undergoing nuclear fusion.

The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission is designed to precisely map out the location of stars as they move across the sky.

The spacecraft is expected to operate for just another two years.

A team of scientists, led by Professor Sasha Hinkley at the University of Exeter in the UK, were measuring a star around 300million miles from the planet.

The star, called HD 206893, is thought to be a good candidate for finding new extrasolar planets, aka planets outside of our solar system.

The planet has been named after the nearby star, taking on the not-so glamourous name of HD 206893 c.

But its massive size and evidence of nuclear fusion mean the cosmic giant is on the boundary between being planet and a brown dwarf.

The discovery could offer new insight for scientists to distinguish between massive planets and brown dwarfs, study team members said.

A brown dwarf is a celestial object which is a size between a giant planet and a small star, which is believed to emit infrared radiation.

“The discovery of HD 206893 c is a really important moment for the study of exoplanets, as ours may be the first direct detection of a ‘Gaia exoplanet,'” Hinkley said.

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