A planet bigger than Jupiter was found orbiting a young star, a new study reports.
While existing ideas say that it takes years and years to produce a big planet, a group of American researchers were able to refute that with their latest discovery.
"For decades, conventional wisdom held that large Jupiter-mass planets take a minimum of 10 million years to form," says lead author Christopher Johns-Krull. He adds that this idea has been questioned, but in the end, experts need to determine several new planets around fresh stars to be able to completely comprehend planet formation.
The planet, named CI Tau b, is eight times bigger than Jupiter at the very least and is located approximately 450 light-years from the Earth. The planet orbits a star that is about 2 million years old.
Finding Planets Around Young Stars
Finding planets orbiting young stars is a very difficult task. This is because despite the more than 3,300 exoplanets determined, very few are large and illuminating enough to be detected by current telescopes and still maintain particles from which planets are created.
Aside from that, stars that are very new are typically active and have explosions and darkenings, powerful magnetic fields and very large starspots that can make it look like a planet is present when in reality there is none.
Focus On Cl Tau B
CI Tau b orbits its star every nine days. The planet was detected via a technique that looks into the little changes in the velocity of stars to identify the gravitational pull exerted by surrounding planets too weak to be detected by telescopes.
The discovery is extraordinary because it shows how rapid a giant planet can form that even the residual gas and dust from which the new star formed are still present.
John-Krulls says their group is not the only one looking for planets surrounding new stars. He hopes that other astronomers can also find planets so as to find answers to the daunting questions about planet formation.
The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal on May 25.