Why This 5.4-Million-Year-Old Planet Is Still a Baby

ESO A. Müller et

While the discovery is called a baby planet, in this case, it means PDS 70b is roughly 5 or 6 million years old, NPR reported. But scientists are eager to study more young-star systems to confirm these hypotheses and learn more about how planets form. The newly-discovered object lies about 70 times further from its star than the Earth does from the Sun.

"These discs around young stars are the birthplaces of planets, but so far only a handful of observations have detected hints of baby planets in them", said Miriam Keppler of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, who led one of the research teams. According to Scientists, PDS 70b is bigger than Jupiter and now has a surface temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius.

The astronomers captured a shot of the now-internet-famous baby using the SPHERE planet-hunting instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.; our sun, for example, is roughly 4.5 billion years old. It is a mask blocking the blinding light of the star in the centre.

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Although the planet looks close to its star in the image, it's 1,864,113,576 miles away. While scientists keep looking for planets which are fully matured, it is interesting to see one which is still midway of growing up.

Because this planet is a gas giant just like Jupiter is, monitoring its growth could reveal more about how quickly Jupiter formed alongside Earth.

This glimpse of the dust-shrouded birth of a planet was only possible thanks to the impressive technological capabilities of ESO's SPHERE instrument, which studies exoplanets and discs around nearby stars using a technique known as high-contrast imaging - a challenging feat.

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Dr. Zoe Leinhardt, a specialist in planetary formation and university computational astrophysicist in Bristol, told the Guardian: "For astronomers, most of the time, it is very rare that we are really able to show a picture".

André Müller, second team's leader, stated that "Keppler provides results of complicated and vaguely understood primary stages of evolution of planets".

With help from one of Earth's most powerful telescopes, an global team of astronomers has snapped a spectacular snapshot of a newborn planet emerging from the disk of gas and debris surrounding its host star. This makes the newfound planet a slow orbiter, taking about 120 Earth years to make a single lap around its star.

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