Thursday, October 20, 2011

LkCa 15 b, A planet is born: Telescope captures first image of new world forming round a star - 20th Oct 2011

LkCa 15 b is 450 light years away from Earth and is 'building itself' out of dust and gas. This impression by University of Hawaii artists shows how the planet sits near the star, while a disc of dust lies further out. It's the youngest planet ever found.

A University of Hawaii astronomer used the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea to capture the first direct image of a planet forming around a star.

The scientists used mirrors to 'cancel out' starlight. It's usually impossible to capture such 'births' because the parent star's light outshines them.

The planet - called LkCa 15 b, is hot 'protoplanet' surrounded by cooler dust and gas, which is falling into the still-forming planet. LkCa 15b will become a Jupiter-like gas giant. Read More