Young exoplanet found nestled close to its star | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

News in Brief

Young exoplanet found nestled close to its star

Discovery adds insight into birth, first steps of Jupiter-like worlds

9:00am, May 31, 2016
Illustration of exoplanet CI Tau b

CLOSE UP  Scientists have found an exoplanet 11 times the mass of Jupiter cuddling up to a young star (similar to one illustrated here). The newfound planet, which orbits its 2-million-year-old star once every nine days, could help scientists understand how large planets form near their stars.

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 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

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content