Very Young Exoplanet Found

Aron Schatz
April 2, 2008

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This new planet is on the order of 100,000 years old. It is twice the size of Jupiter. We're on the cusp of finding more rocky planets.


The group, led by Jane Greaves of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, found the 100,000-year-old fetal planet about 520 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. "The new object, designated HL Tau b, is the youngest planetary object ever seen," said Anita Richards, an astronomer at the U.K. Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. Richards, who worked with Greaves' team to describe the infant planet, said it's just 1 percent as old as the young planet found in orbit around the star TW Hydrae last year. "We see a distinct orbiting ball of gas and dust, which is exactly how a very young protoplanet should look," Greaves said, noting the far-younger planet should take on a Jupiter-like essence in millions of years.


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