Saturday June 25, 2016

Hot, young planet snuggles up to a star

The "hot jupiter" planet was found orbiting the star V830 Tau, as seen in this artists' conception. They are located about 430 light years from Earth in a star-forming region of the constellation Taurus.

The "hot jupiter" planet was found orbiting the star V830 Tau, as seen in this artists' conception. They are located about 430 light years from Earth in a star-forming region of the constellation Taurus. (Mark A. Garlick/markgarlick.com)

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A Hot Jupiter is an exoplanet with a mass similar to our own Jupiter, but with a much shorter orbit. This is because they are much closer to their host star. The first one was discovered in 1995.

But recently, an international team of scientists - including Dr. René Doyon, a Professor in the Department of Physics, and Director of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at the Université de Montreal - discovered a new one which is quite different. 

This planet - 430 light years from Earth - has an orbit of only 5 days and is about 1/20th the distance to its star than Earth is to the Sun - much closer than other Hot Jupiters. Also, the discovery reveals that a planet can form much quicker after the birth of the host star than previously thought. Both are only about 2 million years old. It is hoped that this new discovery will lead to a better understanding of how planetary systems - including our own - form and evolve.  

Related Links:

Paper in Nature 
- York University release
- Canada-France-Hawaii telescope release
- CBC News story
Story in The Guardian