The Youngest Planet In the Galaxy?

Astronomers have found the youngest planet yet, but just how young is it?


Addison Pirkl

Scientists say they have found the youngest planet in the Milky Way yet…

The universe is older than time. That would be the only explanation for the painstakingly long amount of time Earth has existed. However, it is still considered one of the youngest planets in our galaxy. All of the other planets and stars around Earth are billions and billions of years older than it. But have scientists just found the youngest planet yet?
AS 209 is a star, not much unlike the Sun, found in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which is around 395 light-years away from Earth, according to USA Today. AS 209 has 7 circumplanetary disks (disks like the ones that surround Saturn and Uranus). Just recently, a mass said to be a planet was found inside these rings.
According to SciTech Daily, the planet doesn’t have a name but is estimated to be less than 1.6 million years old, as that is the estimated age of AS 209, the host star. That is longer than humans have existed and any history we can recover. But this is the youngest one out there (that we have discovered).
This will probably change, as new planets are formed, destroyed in star implosions, destroyed for other random causes, etc. But for right now, this is the youngest exoplanet ever found.
This planet is around 18.59 billion miles away from its host star, AS 209 (SciTech Daily). But, the distance is made up for by the extraordinary things found within the planet’s own circumplanetary ring.
Scientists have found evidence of a disc much like the moon, gravitating around the planet. That proves that this is the first exoplanet found with a moon-forming atmosphere. This disc is found in the planet’s own ring that surrounds it.
This unique discovery was found because of another rare occurrence; AS 209’s 7 circumplanetary rings have gas in them. This makes AS 209 the first-ever interstellar host star found with gas inside of its rings (SciTech Daily). This discovery is what led to the uncovering of the planet, which also contains gas in its ring, making it the third-ever exoplanet with gas found inside of its circumplanetary ring.
The planet was discovered by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, and as the astronomers described, was noticed as “a blob of emitted light in the middle of an otherwise empty gap in the gas surrounding the star.” (USA Today). It was found when astronomers were researching another young exoplanet, PDS 70c. This discovery later led to the scientists’ realization of AS 209’s seven circumplanetary rings. Scientists think that those rings can help them further discover the development of atmospheres that create planets and moons (SciTech Daily).

It may be crazy that a planet that is over a million and a half years old is considered young, but compared to outer space, it truly is. Humans may not be able to uncover every mystery the planets, stars, and cosmos have to offer, which may truly prove how small they are compared to the vastness of space. It may seem frightening to know how small humans are, but they are trying just as hard to discover their place in the universe.

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