Astronomers Discover Infant Planet – One of the Youngest Exoplanets Ever Observed - SciTechDaily
Oct 23, 2021 1 min, 59 secs

Discovery image of the planet 2M0437, which lies about 100 times the Earth-Sun distance from its parent star.

The much-brighter host star has been mostly removed, and the four “spikes” are artifacts produced by the optics of the telescope.

One of the youngest planets ever found around a distant infant star has been discovered by an international team of scientists led by University of Hawai?i at Manoa faculty, students, and alumni.

The planet, named 2M0437b, joins a handful of objects advancing our understanding of how planets form and change with time, helping shed new light on the origin of the Solar System and Earth.

“By analyzing the light from this planet we can say something about its composition, and perhaps where and how it formed in a long-vanished disk of gas and dust around its host star.”.

The researchers estimate that the planet is a few times more massive than Jupiter, and that it formed with its star several million years ago, around the time the main Hawaiian Islands first emerged above the ocean.

The planet is so young that it is still hot from the energy released during its formation, with a temperature similar to the lava erupting from Kilauea Volcano.

In 2018, 2M0437b was first seen with the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea by UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) visiting researcher Teruyuki Hirano.

Gaidos and his collaborators used the Keck Observatory on Maunakea to monitor the position of the host star as it moved across the sky, confirming that planet 2M0437b was truly a companion to the star, and not a more distant object.

The planet and its parent star lie in a stellar “nursery” called the Taurus Cloud.

“Observations with space telescopes such as NASA’s Hubble and the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope could identify gases in its atmosphere and reveal whether the planet has a moon-forming disk,” Gaidos added.

The star that 2M0437b orbits is too faint to be seen with the unaided eye, but currently from Hawai?i, the young planet and other infant stars in the Taurus Cloud are almost directly overhead in the pre-dawn hours, north of the bright star Hoku?ula (Aldeberan) and east of the Makali?i (Pleiades) star cluster.

The disk was not there – the planet was synthesized by a star

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