Astronomers have discovered the youngest fully formed exoplanet ever detected. The discovery was made using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and its extended K2 mission, as well as the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun. The newfound planet, K2-33b, is a bit larger than Neptune and whips tightly around its star every five days. It is only 5 to 10 million years old, making it one of a very few newborn planets found to date. "Our Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old," said Trevor David of Caltech in Pasadena, lead author of a new study published online June 20, 2016, in the journal Nature. "By comparison, the planet K2-33b is very young. You might think of it as an infant." David is a graduate student working with astronomer Lynne Hillenbrand, also of Caltech. Planet formation is a complex and tumultuous process that remains shrouded in mystery. Astronomers have discovered and confirmed roughly 3,000 exoplanets so far; however, nearly all of them are hosted by middle-aged stars, with ages of a billion years or more. For astronomers, attempting to understand the life cycles of planetary systems using existing examples is like trying to learn how people grow from babies to children to teenagers, by only studying adults. "The newborn planet will help us better understand how planets form, which is important for understanding the processes that led to the formation of Earth," said co-author Erik Petigura of Caltech. The first signals of the planet's existence were measured by K2. The telescope's camera detected a periodic dimming of the light emitted by the planet's host star, a sign that an orbiting planet could be regularly passing in front of the star and blocking the light. Data from the Keck Observatory validated that the dimming was indeed caused by a planet, and also helped confirm its youthful age. Infrared measurements from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showed that the system's star is surroun

Foto: NASA

OK2-33b, planeta mais jovem do universo, foi descoberto por astrônomos da Nasa em uma região do universo chamada Escorpião Superior.

Ele é um pouco maior do que Netuno, que tem cinco vezes a dimensão da Terra e orbita ao redor de sua estrela uma vez a cada cinco dias.

Os cientistas calculam que ele tem apenas 5 a 10 milhões de anos de idade, considerado recém-nascido se comparado à Terra, que tem 4,5 bilhões de anos.

Essa é uma grande oportunidade para entender a formação e o desenvolvimento de outros planetas, entre eles a Terra.

O K2-33b foi descoberto com o telescópio espacial Kepler.

 

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