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Observers believe AB Aurigae b is at the earliest stage of formation ever observed for a gas giant, and isn’t forming the way planets usually do.

Scientists have observed an enormous planet about nine times the mass of Jupiter at a remarkably early stage of formation – describing it as still in the womb – in a discovery that challenges the current understanding of planetary formation.

The researchers used the Subaru telescope, near the summit of an inactive Hawaiian volcano, and the orbiting Hubble space telescope to detect and study the planet called AB Aurigae b, a gas giant orbiting unusually far from its young host star. Gas giants are planets, like our solar system’s largest ones Jupiter and Saturn, composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, with swirling gases surrounding a smaller solid core. Continue reading…

Nature Astronomy

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