Astronomers Adam Kraus and Michael Ireland from Hawaii have captured the first direct image of a new planet being formed just 450 light years away from Earth. The LkCa 15 b is the youngest planet ever observed, with the previous record holder, Beta Pictoris b, being five times older.
Kraus, from the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, said the new planet is being formed out of dust and gas around a star about 2 million years old. The Jupiter-sized gas planet is estimated to have begun shaping itself between 50,000 to 100,000 years back.
Ireland, from Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory, together with his colleague, used Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea to locate the said planet. [Read more...]