Saturday, October 22, 2011

Found in Space: The Birth of a Planet

Posted By on Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 8:15 AM

It's not every day that you witness a planet being born. An astronomer in Hawaii has captured an image of a planet being formed out of dust and gas, about 450 light years from Earth.

For the record, the planet is estimated to have started taking shape about 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, but also for the record it's the youngest planet ever observed. The previous record holder was about five times older.

The planet is formally known as LkCa 15 b. The discovery was presented this week at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The research is due to appear in the next issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Artists rendering of a new planet forming around a star.
  • The University of Hawaii
  • Artist's rendering of a new planet forming around a star.

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