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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Astronomers Find The Lightest Exoplanet Ever Caught On Camera

• popsci.com
 The image above contains what scientists believe is the lowest-mass exoplanet ever to be caught on camera. Called HD 95086 b, the newly discovered planet orbits a young star about 300 light-years from Earth.
 

Based on the exoplanet's brightness, astronomers predict it has a mass just four to five times that of Jupiter. The planet's host star, which is slightly bigger than our sun and surrounded by a disc of debris, is fairly youthful—only 10 million to 17 million years old (the sun is about 4.6 billion years old).

"The brightness of the star gives HD 95086 b an estimated surface temperature of about 700 degrees Celsius," says Gaël Chauvin, a researcher at the Institut de Planetologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble in France. "This is cool enough for water vapor and possibly methane to exist in its atmosphere."

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