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The discovery of a giant planet orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance has astronomers puzzled over how such a strange system came to be.

An international team of astronomers, led by a University of Arizona graduate student, has discovered the most distantly orbiting planet found to date around a single, sun-like star. It is the first exoplanet -- a planet outside of our solar system -- discovered at the UA.

Weighing in at 11 times Jupiter's mass and orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance, planet HD 106906 b is unlike anything in our own Solar System and throws a wrench in planet formation theories.

"This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see," said Vanessa Bailey, who led the research. Bailey is a fifth-year graduate student in the UA's Department of Astronomy.

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