Hawaiian scientists have discovered one of the smallest planets they’ve ever seen

An international team of researchers led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa has discovered one of the smallest planets ever observed. result Monthly notice of the Royal Astronomical Society, estimated that the planet was “many times larger” than Jupiter.

The new planet was discovered in a “stellar nursery” and formed millions of years ago. Around the same time, Hawaii’s major islands emerged from the sea. Dubbed 2M0437b, researchers first discovered a planet orbiting a distant young star in 2018.

Because 2M0437b is very small, it is still hot due to the energy released during its formation. Scientists said: press release The temperature is comparable to “the lava of Kilauea Volcano”.

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Subaru telescope and Guidos et al. (2021)

Mauna Kea’s Kek Observatory was used to track the orbiting star 2M0437b, confirming that it was actually the star’s planet and not a distant object. Researchers have taken three years to confirm this because the star moves very slowly across the sky.

Although 2M0437b and its parent are in the Taurus Cloud, the planet’s well-known “nursery”, the planet is about 100 times more distant from the Sun than Earth because the planet has an orbit that is much wider than many other orbits in the solar system. . From the sun – it would have been difficult to observe without new adaptive optics technology.

The discovery of this planet is particularly exciting for astronomers. The reason is that this planet is easy to see and too young. This means that scientists will be able to observe this planet over the years and learn more about how planets, including Earth, age.

“This accidental discovery adds to our list of the best planets we can observe directly with a telescope,” said lead author and UH Manoa professor Eric Gaidos.

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