Discovery adds insight into birth, first steps of Jupiter-like worlds
Scientists have found one of the youngest exoplanets ever, huddling close to a star that is just 2 million years old. Located 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus, the star is so young that it still has its baby fat — it is surrounded by the disk of gas and dust from which it formed.
The planet, CI Tau b, is hefty for an infant — tipping the scales at 11 times the mass of Jupiter, say astronomer Christopher Johns-Krull of Rice University in Houston and colleagues in a paper posted May 25 on arXiv.org. It’s surprising, the researchers say, that such a large planet could have formed in just 2 million years — peanuts on cosmic timescales.
Such baby-faced exoplanets have been spotted before (SN: 12/26/15, p. 14), but they’ve lingered farther from their