Thousands of planets have been discovered around other stars, but what distinguishes this planet is that it is young and can be directly observed.
The planet, called 2M0437b, joins a handful of objects that advance our understanding of how planets form and change over time, helping to shed new light on the origin of the solar system and Earth.
“This planet is added to the elite list of planets that we can observe directly with telescopes,” explained lead author Eric Gaidos, a professor in the university’s Department of Science.
Researchers estimate that the planet is several times larger than Jupiter, and that it formed with its star several million years ago. The planet is so young that it is still hot from the energy released during its formation, with a temperature similar to lava.
“Eventually, we may even be able to measure its orbital motion around the star,” explained Dr. Adam Krause, a professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.
Co-author Michael Liu said: ‘Two of the world’s largest telescopes, adaptive optics technology, and the Maunakea Clear Ocean were needed to make this discovery. “.
Gathering more in-depth research on the newly discovered planet may not be too far away. “Observations using space telescopes such as NASA’s Hubble and the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope can identify gases in its atmosphere,” Liu added.