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Lottie

Telescope Spies 'Youngest' Planet

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An impression of what it might be like in the CoKu Tau 4 system

Nasa's Spitzer telescope has found evidence around a distant star for a planet that may be less than one million years old.

The infrared space observatory studied five stars in the constellation Taurus, about 420 light-years away.

All had dusty discs around them in which new planets are presumed to be forming out of accreting material.

And for the star CoKu Tau 4, Spitzer saw a clearing in the disc which could have been swept clean by a new world.

Nasa is excited by the latest findings from its $2bn space telescope launched last August.

It cannot see objects the size of planets directly, but its infrared detectors can penetrate the dusty clouds around very young stars probing the regions in which planets are forming.

Spitzer has now detected significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout these "planetary construction zones".

These materials - icy dust particles coated with water, methanol and carbon dioxide - may help explain the origin of icy bodies like comets, the US space agency says.

Scientists believe such comets may have deposited on the primitive Earth water and many other chemicals that became the building blocks of life.

"These early results show Spitzer will dramatically expand our understanding of how stars and planets form," said Dr Michael Werner, Spitzer project scientist at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

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Good article Lottie.......very interesting grin2.gif

I hope oneday we have the capability to go and see these places.

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Spitzer has now detected significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout these "planetary construction zones".

This paticular line from the article sticks right out like a sore thumb!....a large throbbing big red thumb that is!

“All truth passes through three stages

First it is ridiculed.

Second it is violently apposed

Third it is accepted as being self-evident”

Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher (1788-1860)

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I would also like to visit this planet but only if it's a lush, tropical paradise with constant warm temperatures and I am stranded there with Elle McPherson.

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