In a new discovery in space, astronomers took an “exciting” step forward in understanding how planets are formed, after a new giant planet was detected orbiting an infant sun last month, reports Thestar.com news blog.
The first of its kind, Canadian Space Agency program scientist Denis Laurin believes that this discovery has debunked knowledge of most hot Jupiters — massive planets whose years are substantially shorter than Earth’s.
Those planets are thought to “have gone closer to their stars due to gravitation, which takes billions of years, but this young exoplanet was birthed next to a young star,” he said. “This brings our assumption of exoplanets back to zero with this new discovery.”
COMPLETE GOOD NEWS gathered that the exoplanet, also known as a hot Jupiter for its similarities in mass and width to our own solar system’s planet Jupiter, is the youngest fully formed planet ever recorded.
“This is more than surprising, it is exciting, because it’s a baby planet around a baby star,” Elodie Hébrard, a York post-doctoral fellow and one of the researchers in this discovery, told the Star. “Our discovery reveals that a giant planet can not only form quickly, but also end up extremely close to its sun soon after the star itself is born.”
Astronomers say that the discovery of a new giant planet, orbiting an infant sun will allow them to understand much more about planet formation.
Just bigger than the size of Neptune, the planet named K2-33b whips around the star every five days.
Giant planets, like Jupiter, were thought to be unable to form so close to a star due to the lack of suitable material there, she explained. However, K2-33b is showing another side to the case, especially being only two million years old — the equivalent of a week-old human baby.
The team used four different instruments mounted on telescopes located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope atop Pic-du-Midi in France, the Télescope Bernard Lyot in the French Pyrénées, and Gemini-North in Hawaii.
The giant planet had been found in the first two months of observation, as it orbited around its host star at a distance only one-20th of the distance between the Sun to the Earth.