NASA discovers K2-33b, youngest exoplanet around a young star
Astronomers using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope (KST) have discovered a newborn fully-formed exoplanet dubbed as K2-33b.
K2-33b is only five to 10 million years old which makes it one of a very few newborn planets found so far.
- K2-33b is just 5 to 10 million years old compared to Earth which is about 4.5 billion years old.
- It is little larger than Neptune and is about 10 times closer than Mercury is to the sun.
- It is locked into a tight orbit around its star and only takes about five days to complete a lap around its host star.
- Significance of Discovery: The newborn planet K2-33b will help astronomers to better understand how planets form.
- It will also help in better understanding the processes that led to the formation of Earth.
So far astronomers have discovered and confirmed roughly 3,000 exoplanets. However, nearly all of them are hosted by middle-aged stars, with ages of a billion years or more.
Exoplanet: It is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet.
Month: Current Affairs - June, 2016