SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, has captured the first confirmed image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young star. The young planet is carving a path through the primordial disc of gas and dust around the very young star PDS 70. The data suggest that the planet’s atmosphere is cloudy.
Since it was launched in 2009, NASA’s Kepler mission has continued to make important exoplanet discoveries. Even after the failure of two reaction wheels, the space observatory has found new life in the form of its K2 mission. All told, this space observatory has detected 5,017 candidates and confirmed the existence of 2,494 exoplanets using the Transit Method during its past eight years in service.
There’s a real buzz among planetary scientists after a new study suggested that an unseen planet, dubbed “Planet Nine”, of about ten times the Earth’s mass could be lurking in the Kuiper belt, a band of icy objects beyond Neptune. The latest theory was put forward after scientists noticed that six objects in the belt were behaving strangely, something that they said could be explained by the existence of a new planet.