Happy Birthday LkCa 15 B

What do you get a new gas protoplanet just forming 450 Light Years ago. A Buzz Light Year nightlight? That is no doubt one of the pressing questions for a University of Hawaii astronomer who used the twin 10-metre Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea to capture the first direct image of a planet forming around a star. Much like human babies, it proved a bit gassy.

LkCa 15 b is still forming into what will become a Jupiter-like gas giant. (It is not clear if it will have its father’s Great Red Spot). Scientists, by cancelling out light from the star, were able to see dust and material falling into the planet as it is building itself into a planet. This used a technique called “Interferometry” to filter out the light that usually obscures such views.

Of course, the artist rendering is a bit more useful to laypersons than the actual images below.

Well, it is still a good reason to celebrate. Happy Birthday Likey (my pet name for the bouncing newborn).

Source: Daily Mail

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