Distant Planet Proves Fast Formation

beta_pictoris_bA distant planet found around a very young star helped prove that planets can actually form in a shorter period of time.

The planet, named Beta Pictoris B, was pictured via infrared and was identified to be a fully mature planet. The planet orbits the star Beta Pictoris, a young star at the age of 12 million years. Yes, that is young when compared to our very own sun, which is at 4.57 billion years old. Beta Pictoris has not lived even 1% of what our sun has lived already.

If Beta Pictoris was formed 12 million years ago, then the planet Beta Pictoris B was formed in an even shorter time. The previous record holder for planet formation is 35 million years by planet BD 20 1790b. Beta Pictoris B is now the youngest known planet out there. It is also the closest extrasolar planet to its star ever photographed. Its distance to its star is roughly the same as that of Saturn to the sun.