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Scientists Discover Jupiter-Like Planet 96 Light Years From Earth

Scientists Discover Jupiter-Like Planet 96 Light Years From Earth
A newly discovered planet resembles Jupiter, depicted here. (Gunter Hofer/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 14 August 2015 04:11 PM

Scientists have discovered a planet that resembles Jupiter 96 light years from Earth, a planet that revolves around a young star like the sun.

According to Stanford News,  the planet has been dubbed "51 Eridani b" and was discovered using a new instrument called the Gemini Planet Imager in a project led by Stanford University physics professor Bruce Macintosh.

The Gemini Planet Imager works, according to Macintosh, by observing the "glow" given off by planets. Another planet hunter, NASA's Kepler space observatory, is able to pick out planets in the sky via their shadows.

"To detect planets, Kepler sees their shadow," Macintosh wrote in Science, reports the Stanford News. "The Gemini Planet Imager instead sees their glow, which we refer to as direct imaging."

The Gemini Planet Imager, according to the report, has detected almost 100 planets after being installed on a telescope in Chile last year.

"51 Eri b is the first young planet that probably looks like Jupiter did billions of years ago, making it currently our most important corner piece of the planet-formation jigsaw puzzle," University of Arizona planetary scientist Travis Barman said, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The planet formed 20 million years ago, about 40 million years after dinosaurs became extinct. In our world, that time frame is hard to fathom. But according to the cosmic clock, 51 Eridani b is so young that it’s still radiating heat from its formation, which is why the imager was able to detect it directly.

Similar to Jupiter, the young planet’s atmosphere consists mostly of methane.

Stanford News reports the planet is -800 degrees Fahrenheit — making it one of the coldest planets known.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Scientists have discovered a planet that resembles Jupiter 96 light years from Earth, a planet that revolves around a young star like the sun.
jupiter, planet, earth, 96 light years, discover, scientists
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2015-11-14
Friday, 14 August 2015 04:11 PM
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