Mu Arae b

Mu Arae b

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Mu Arae b is an extrasolar planet
Extrasolar planet
An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System. A total of such planets have been identified as of . It is now known that a substantial fraction of stars have planets, including perhaps half of all Sun-like stars...

 orbiting the star Mu Arae
Mu Arae
Mu Arae , often referred to by its designation in the Henry Draper catalogue HD 160691, is a main sequence G-type star around 50 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Ara. The star has a planetary system with four known planets, three of them with masses comparable to that of Jupiter...

. At least one and a half times the mass of Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

, its orbital period is 643.25 days. This planet's discovery was announced on December 12, 2002 and was originally thought to be on a highly eccentric orbit. The latest models of the system which incorporate four planets give a lower eccentricity orbit. While the planet itself is likely to be a gas giant
Gas giant
A gas giant is a large planet that is not primarily composed of rock or other solid matter. There are four gas giants in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune...

 with no solid surface, the orbital distance of 1.497 astronomical unit
Astronomical unit
An astronomical unit is a unit of length equal to about or approximately the mean Earth–Sun distance....

s from the star puts it within the liquid water habitable zone
Habitable zone
In astronomy and astrobiology, a habitable zone is an umbrella term for regions that are considered favourable to life. The concept is inferred from the empirical study of conditions favourable for Life on Earth...

 of the system. As a result, large satellites of the planet, if they exist, could potentially support life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

. However it may not receive enough ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 light for abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

to proceed. Furthermore it is not clear that Earth-size moons can actually form in the environment around a gas giant planet.