SD: Youngest Extra-Solar Planet Discovered

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SD: Youngest Extra-Solar Planet Discovered

Post by bystander » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:42 pm

Youngest Extra-Solar Planet Discovered Around Solar-Type Star
Science Daily - 2010 Feb 19
Astronomers have discovered the youngest extra-solar planet around a solar-type star, named BD+20 1790b.

The giant planet, six-times the mass of Jupiter, is only 35 million years old. It orbits a young active central star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the Sun. Young stars are usually excluded from planet searches because they have intense magnetic fields that generate a range of phenomena known collectively as stellar activity, including flares and spots. This activity can mimic the presence of a companion and so can make extremely difficult to disentangle the signals of planets and activity.
Image
Artist's impression of BD+20 1790b (M. Hernon Obispo)

Astronomers Find Youngest Exoplanet Yet
Universe Today - 2010 Feb 18
Overcoming interference from a very active young sun-like star, a group of astronomers were able to find what they determined is the youngest exoplanet yet discovered. BD+20 1790b is 35 million years old (Earth is about 100 times older at 4.5 billion years) and is located about 83 light years away from our planet. Previously, the youngest known exoplanet was about 100 million years old. Studying this planet will help our understanding of planetary evolution.