Young Giant Planet Offers Clues to Formation of Exotic Worlds

by | Jun 23, 2020 | Daily Space, Exoplanets | 0 comments

Young Giant Planet Offers Clues to Formation of Exotic Worlds
IMAGE: This image shows a type of gas giant planet known as a hot Jupiter that orbits very close to its star. Finding more of these youthful planets could help astronomers understand how they formed and if they migrate from cooler climes during their lifetimes. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We’ve known since the 1990s that massive, Jupiter-like worlds can exist snuggled up to their host stars. What we haven’t known is how they get there. It could be they formed there or migrated there at some point in their solar system’s history. It could even be all of the above. To understand these systems, we need examples of young stars with young planets so we can see what is possible.

And finally, we have one example. HIP 67522b is a hot Jupiter found in data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) that is orbiting its star every seven days. That star is only 17-million-years old, and that makes this a young planet. While we still can’t know if the world formed there or migrated there early in the star system’s history, this singular example does tell us that not all hot Jupiters migrate there a billion or more years into a solar system’s evolution. It is a start. One object can be the start of an awful lot of science, but here is hoping they find many more examples quickly.

More Information

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory press release 

TESS Hunt for Young and Maturing Exoplanets (THYME). II. A 17 Myr Old Transiting Hot Jupiter in the Sco-Cen Association,” Aaron C. Rizzuto, 2020 June 22, Astronomical Journal (Preprint on arxiv.org)

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