New cotton candy-like planet discovered 1200 light years away from Earth

Super fluffy exoplanet is second lightest planet ever discovered

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Unusual giant planet as fluffy as cotton candy spotted by astronomers. — Space/File

In a major scientific breakthrough, astronomers have discovered a new cotton candy-like planet far outside our solar system, Space reported.

The exoplanet named "WASP-193 b" is around 1.5 times the width of Jupiter, yet it contains only a fraction of its density.

Scientists have found that the gas giant is the second-lightest planet discovered in the exoplanet category. In a Neptune-like world, Kepler 51 d is the lightest.

The new planet's much larger size, combined with its super-light density, makes it something of an oddity among the other 5,400 planets discovered to date.

The discovery was made by a group of astronomers from different universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Liege in Belgium, and was reported in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The study’s MIT co-author, Julien de Wit, said: "Typically, big planets are pretty easy to detect because they are usually massive and lead to a big pull on their star."

"But what was tricky about this planet was, even though it's big — huge — its mass and density are so low that it was actually very difficult to detect with just the radial velocity technique. It was an interesting twist."

To understand the reason behind its lightness, scientists will carry out more tests.