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University of Arizona researchers find giant planet connected to infant system

Published: Thursday, July 6, 2023 - 4:00pm
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University of Arizona researchers have published a paper announcing the discovery of a giant planet they think may be generating spiral arms to an infant solar system.

The lead author said astronomers have looked for young and forming planets for more than a decade, but most searches turned up empty.

One of the world’s most sensitive infrared telescopes, located on Arizona’s Mount Graham, provided the first ever look at the planet with a star roughly 500 light-years away.

The star is surrounded by a disc of gas and dust, which the UA's Kevin Wagner said can gravitationally sculpt a planet.  

“That’s what’s going on with this one. It has these two beautiful spiral arms and they pointed right where we found a planet," Wagner said. 

Now named MWC 758c, Wagner said the system the planet belongs to is an analogy for how our own solar system looked less than 1% into its lifetime.