youngest planet ever found
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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A planet is born

Youngest planet ever found

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Arab Today, arab today Youngest planet ever found

The youngest planet ever found
London - Arabstoday

The youngest planet ever found London - Arabstoday A University of Hawaii astronomer used the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea to capture the first direct image of a planet forming around a star. The scientists used mirrors to 'cancel out' starlight. It's usually impossible to capture such 'births' because the parent star's light outshines them. The planet - called LkCa 15 b, is hot 'protoplanet' surrounded by cooler dust and gas, which is falling into the still-forming planet. LkCa 15b will become a Jupiter-like gas giant. The Institute for Astronomy says Adam Kraus used the telescopes on Mauna Kea - the world's largest optical/infrared telescopes - to find the planet. He was working with Michael Ireland from Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Kraus presented the discovery Wednesday at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. 'LkCa 15 b is the youngest planet ever found, about 5 times younger than the previous record holder,' said Kraus. 'This young gas giant is being built out of the dust and gas. In the past, you couldn’t measure this kind of phenomenon because it’s happening so close to the star. But, for the first time, we’ve been able to directly measure the planet itself as well as the dusty matter around it.' The optical sleight of hand used by the astronomers is to combine the power of Keck’s adaptive optics with a technique called aperture mask interferometry. The former is the use of a deformable mirror to rapidly correct for atmospheric distortions of starlight. The latter involves placing a small mask with several holes in the path of the light collected and concentrated by a giant telescope. With that, the scientists can manipulate light waves. 'It’s like we have an array of small mirrors,' said Kraus. 'We can manipulate the light and cancel out distortions.' The technique allows the astronomers to cancel out the bright light of stars. They can then resolve disks of dust around stars and see gaps in the dusty layers where protoplanets may be hiding. 'Interferometry has actually been around since the 1800s, but through the use of adaptive optics has only been able to reach nearby young suns for about the last seven years.' said Dr. Ireland. 'Since then we’ve been trying to push the technique to its limits using the biggest telescopes in the world, especially Keck.' 'LkCa 15 was only our second target, and we immediately knew we were seeing something new,” said Kraus. 'We could see a faint point source near the star, so thinking it might be a Jupiter-like planet we went back a year later to get more data.' In further investigations at varying wavelengths, the astronomers were intrigued to discover that the phenomenon was more complex than a single companion object. 'We realized we had uncovered a super Jupiter-sized gas planet, but that we could also measure the dust and gas surrounding it. We’d found a planet at its very beginning,' said Kraus.  

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