Outer Space

Scientists Discovered A Baby Planet That's Already Dying

We've got good news and bad news. The good news is that scientists just discovered the youngest planet they've ever seen. The bad news is that it's not long for this universe. The baby planet is slowly dying.

Related: "Saturn On Steroids" Has Massive and Seemingly Impossible Rings

Hey Little Guy!

In their search for the galaxy's youngest planets, a team of astronomers at Rice University think they found one of the youngest ever: a potential planet roughly twice the mass of Jupiter orbiting a star that's only 2 million years old. (By comparison, the first members of the genus Homo, to which humans belong, appeared in the fossil record 2.8 million years ago.) The likely planet, named PTFO8-8695 b, has a gaseous composition and a very close orbit, which makes it a class of exoplanet known as a "hot Jupiter."

Related: Astronomers Discover The Largest Known Planet That Orbits Two Suns

An artist’s impression of likely new giant planet PTFO8-8695 b, which is believed to orbit a star in the constellation Orion every 11 hours. Gravity from the newborn star appears to be pulling away the outer layers of the Jupiter-like planet.

We Barely Knew Ye

Don't get too attached to our young friend PTFO8-8695 b. That tight orbit is also incredibly rapid at only 11 hours. That creates a deadly combination that lets the star's gravity strip away outer layers of the baby planet with each close encounter. Though the outlook isn't good for the planet, astronomers have no way of knowing whether and how quickly it will be destroyed. Poor little fella.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Hot Jupiters

A Baby Planet Is Sadly 'Being Destroyed' By Its Star

Key Facts In This Video

  1. It's possible that one of the youngest suspected planets in our galaxy is being slowly destroyed by its star. 00:01

  2. The star is estimated to be only 2 million years old. That's a fraction of the age of the Earth. 00:12

  3. The planet's orbit is only 11 hours long. 00:29

A Dying Hot Jupiter and The Birth of Carbon Planets

What are Hot Jupiters?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Extrasolar planets are planets that orbits stars that are not our sun. 00:04

  2. Hot Jupiters usually have temperatures of a thousand or more Kelvin. 01:41

  3. Hot Jupiters can have clouds of molten rock and atmospheric compositions similar to cool stars. 01:54

Written by Curiosity Staff June 24, 2016

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