Hawaii team discovers one of the youngest planets ever observed around a distant star

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 2:12 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 2:13 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scientists led by a team at the University of Hawaii at Manoa have discovered one of the youngest planets ever observed around a distant infant star.

The planet is named 2M0437b.

Its discovery is unique, researchers said, because it is newly formed and can be directly observed.

“This serendipitous discovery adds to an elite list of planets that we can directly observe with our telescopes,” said UH Professor Eric Gaidos, who is lead author of an article on the discovery in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“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.

It formed with its star several million years ago ― about the same time the main Hawaiian Islands emerged above the ocean. The planet is so young that it’s still very hot.

The planet was first seen with the Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea in 2018. Gaidos and other members of his team then monitored the planet to make sure it was a companion to the star.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.