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Hot Jupiter-esque Discovery Hints at Planet Formation

25 Aug 2015, 18:06 UTC
Hot Jupiter-esque Discovery Hints at Planet Formation
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Keck Observatory Press release published on August 13 2015
MAUNAKEA, Hawaii – A team of astronomers discovered a Jupiter-like planet within a young system that could serve as a decoder ring for understanding how planets formed around our sun. The W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii confirmed the discovery. The findings were headed by Bruce Macintosh, a professor of physics at Stanford University, and show the new planet, 51 Eridani b, is one million times fainter than its parent star and shows the strongest methane signature ever detected on an alien planet, which should yield additional clues as to how the planet formed. The results are published in the current issue of Science.
CREDIT: W. M. KECK OBSERVATORY, CHRISTIAN MAROIS, NRC CANADAImage of 51 Eri b as seen by the NIRC2 instrument on Keck Observatory’s Keck II telescope. The bright central star has been mostly removed by a mask to enable the confirmation of the exoplanet one million times fainter.
“This is the first exoplanet discovered with the Gemini Planet Imager, one of the new generation instruments designed specifically for discovering and analyzing faint, young planets orbiting bright stars,” said Franck Marchis, Senior Planetary Astronomer at the SETI Institute ...

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