Jupiter-sized exoplanet discovered by University of Florida researchers gives new insight into the formation of planets

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – A team of astronomers at the University of Florida led by Professor Jaehan Bae recently discovered a very young, 1.5 million-year-old planet, while studying a star system named AS 209, over 390 light-years away from Earth.

The objective of this study was to research the formation of planets while they are young and still show evidence of their formation.

There have not been many discoveries of planets as young as this one, so researchers hope to use it to further understand the chemistry behind planet formation.

The team of researchers used ALMA, a large desert telescope based in Chile, to study five different star systems. When studying the circumstellar disk of the AS 209 system, astronomers discovered a young planet hidden in the cloud of a circumplanetary disk.

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This team at UF is one of the first to study the material of circumplanetary disks, and according to Professor Bae, “Most of the circumplanetary disk mass is in the gas, not the solid particles… And in fact, one thing we found is the gas-to-dust mass ratio is much, much larger than previously expected, at least 1000-to-1.”

Professor Bae and her team hope to continue their research, as new mysteries have emerged from their discovery, such as the question of how could the planet have formed so far away from its star.

The team has recently been approved for an analysis of the system using the new James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to take place later this month.

Footage from the James Webb Space Telescope, as well as continued research from Professor Bae and her team will help astronomers to further understand the phenomena of planet formation.

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