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Baby Jupiter planet discovered; located 100 light-years away from Solar system

Astronomers have spotted a young Jupiter-like planet, about 100 light-years away from our Solar System. The baby planet is about 20 million years old, based on astronomical standards has been named 51 Eridani b.baby-jupiter-planet

The planet which is about twice the size of Jupiter, has its surface glowing with the 800 degree Fahrenheit heat from its creation. The study, published in the Journal Science could reveal more information about the creation of the Solar System. The planet 51 Eridani b is the first planet discovered by a direct imaging instrument called Gemini Planet Imager or GPI. GPI is mounted on a 27-foot-long Gemini South Telescope in Chile.


“51 Eri b is the first young planet that probably looks like Jupiter did billions of years ago, making it currently our most important corner-piece of the planet formation jigsaw puzzle,” said Travis Barman, a UA associate professor of planetary sciences and a leading theorist on the GPI team. “The current properties of 51 Eri b may hold a record of its formation history, and future studies of its atmosphere will hopefully unlock new information about planet formation in general.”

Barman added that the planet’s methane-rich atmosphere makes 51 Eridani b more “Jupiter-like” than any other planet. The GPI’s spectrometer has also detected water on the alien planet. The Jupiter is our Solar System is the largest planet that can fit over 1,300 Earth’s inside, and is also the fastest rotating planet. The planet does not have a solid surface and is made up of gas. Scientists hope to decipher the common structure of the Solar System by studying far-away planets.

The new imaging instrument is set to further explore and discover young gas-like planets which are still warm. Astronomers believe that gas giants like Jupiter formed slowly in the Solar System over a few million years, and then started to pull-in massive amounts of hydrogen to form an atmosphere known as “cold-start.” However, the discovery of Jupiter-like planets revealed that they are much hotter, indicating that they formed quickly known as “hot-start.” The baby planet 51 Eridani b has 600 times the mass of Earth, its sun-like star is about 20 million years old.

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