An artist's rendering of a 10-million-year-old star system with a gas-giant planet like Jupiter.

Scientists have managed to measure both the size and orbit of a gas giant exoplanet nearly 1,300 light-years away from Earth. This close-in planet may be a clue that our solar system may not quite be the only stable system out there, according to new research.

In 2014, researchers found that X-ray observations of J1510-24b seemed to indicate a large rocky planet. The planet was about 6% heavier than Jupiter, and the orbit of the planet around its star was more elliptical than that of David Bowman's scientific model of the solar system. But J1510-24b is less than 300 light-years away, so it still has some 5 billion years to orbit its home star. Using NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers using the ground-based Baryon Oscillation Spectrograph discovered that J1510-24b allegedly has two rings of complicated and seemingly artificial activity.

The missing information

So any data X-ray telescopes might see shows that they are either not Damascus or not Mars. Niall Deacon, a professor of physical sciences at MIT, has now pointed out that the orbit of this original J1510-24b exoplanet doesn't measure up with what astronomers would have expected based on their purist model of the Sun-Earth system.

First noticed by previous astronomers analyzing exoplanet data, Deacon and Kevin Hand previously found that J1510-24b seems to orbit too close to its star, a terrible status for a planet that orbiting close to its beating heart. It's a condition called polycentric argument of heliocentric exploration (PHER). This taking too close to this star perhaps means this planet's solid surface made possible by near-miraculous geological processes, much like the Earth. Meanwhile the inner radius of the planet has a tiny gap. The planet's outer crust especially is a tantalizing sample collection — rocky beneath a decomposed ocean of water in the habitable zone. Another possible explanation could be elemental aluminum or carbon cyanide in this planet's surface, creating the condition of molten magma soup, which could again mimic rocky properties. Meanwhile, the exoplanet's exosphere appears thin — just 30 km above its surface, compared to about 1,500 km for Earth which is a rocky world.

This proposed polycentric process would explain how this one spot Neptune-like world might possess a very hollow core and still have a solid external shell. The exclusion of a solid, streamlined exterior means that J1510-24b shouldn't have an atmosphere, but rather a thin, isolated solid surface that isn't