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The uncertainty of science: Astronomers have discovered a Jupiter-class exoplanet orbiting a very young star, something their models of planetary formation told them shouldn’t happen.
“For decades, conventional wisdom held that large Jupiter-mass planets take a minimum of 10 million years to form,” said Christopher Johns-Krull, the lead author of a new study about the planet, CI Tau b, that will be published in The Astrophysical Journal. “That’s been called into question over the past decade, and many new ideas have been offered, but the bottom line is that we need to identify a number of newly formed planets around young stars if we hope to fully understand planet formation.”
CI Tau b is at least eight times larger than Jupiter and orbits a 2 million-year-old star about 450 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus.
In other words, a planet that, according to the present models for planetary formation, supposedly needs 10 million years to form is orbiting a star only 2 million years old. In other words, the models are wrong. We simply don’t know enough yet about planetary formation to create any reliable models.