Researchers have discovered a planet approximately 45 million years old, orbiting one of its brightest young stars. The star and its planet could provide valuable information on how planetary bodies form.
The exoplanet outside of the solar system was found as part of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. While thousands of exoplanet discoveries have already been made, only a handful have been discovered circling relatively young stars.
Planets can take millions or billions of years to reach maturity. Since that process cannot be observed in real-time, researchers are searching for planets around young stars to catch the process in action and learn how planets form and evolve.
"One of the overall goals of astronomy is understanding the big picture of how we got here, how solar systems and galaxies take shape and why," said Elisabeth Newton, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. "By finding solar systems that are different from our own - especially young ones - we can hope to learn why Earth and our own solar system evolved in the ways that they did" he also added.
The planet was first observed by NASA satellite in November of 2018 and was confirmed by the Dartmouth team in March using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and other ground- and space-based observatories, such as the South African Large Telescope (SALT).