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Infant Planet K2-33b Update: Discovery Proves Scientists Planet Formation Theory Right

First Posted: Jul 02, 2016 04:40 AM EDT
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Infant planet K2-33b discovery is proving the theory that gaseous planets need to form in the first 10 million years of their star's lifetime. There are 3,000 discovered exoplanets, which are believed to be a billion years old and scientists are convinced that this can be the key to answering life's origins.

Through the Kepler telescope, Trevor David from California Institute of Technology along with his colleagues revealed that an infant planet called K2-33b is located approximately 470 light years away in the vicinity of constellation of Scorpio.

The infant planet K2-33b orbits a star that is about five to ten million years old and orbits closer to a star of about ten times closer than Mercury orbiting the sun. One of the two  infant planets, the youngest ever to be found, appear to be a million years old. The researchers even stated that the one of the baby planets are actually a giant planet that takes 5 days to completely orbit its star.

Erik Petigura, the author of a study published in Nature, said that the K2-33b discovery is giving scientists a first-hand glimpse of the planets' formation.  With the planet and the star in its youngest, scientists have also hypothesized that they were either born in their current location or formed elsewhere due to the gravitational forces that pulls the disk of gas and dust gave rise to the new planetary system.

Traces of protoplanetary disks was detected by NASA's Spitzer space telescope proved its existence. Authors of the study ruled out the theory of scattering, a result of a planet being kicked towards the sun due to interactions with other planets or stars.

Jean-Francois Donati from the University of Toulouse took concrete measurements of the young planet and determined that it was nearly the size of Jupiter and orbits close to its sun, approximately ten times closer than how Mercury orbits our own sun, The Guardian reported. Donati stated that the first exoplanet discovered was in 1995 known as a hot Jupiter.

The infant planet K2-33b was determined to be 50 percent larger than Neptune and could possibly get bigger.

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