Exoplanet 51 Eridani b: A Red-Hot Young Jupiter Around Distant Star (Infographic)

Facts about planet 51 Eridani b.
A planet only 20 million years old and still hot from its creation has been photographed in a solar system 96 light-years from Earth. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Astronomers have directly photographed a planet not unlike Jupiter orbiting 51 Eridani, a sunlike star 96 light-years from Earth.

Main Story: Found! 'Young Jupiter,' the Smallest Exoplanet Directly Seen by Telescope

The star is young, only 20 million years old (compared with the sun's 4.6 billion years). The planet, 51 Eridani b, still glows with the heat of its formation.

Jupiter-Like Exoplanet With Methane Atmosphere Found | Video

Scientists used the Gemini Planet Imager, an instrument on the Gemini South telescope in Chile, to make the discovery. The Gemini Planet Imager is an instrument designed specifically for directly imaging exoplanets around distant stars.

Related: 'Young Jupiter' 51 Eridani b: Why Directly Imaging an Exoplanet Is Big (Kavli Q+A)

More resources:

7 Ways Scientists Find Alien Planets

Alien Planet Quiz: Are You an Exoplanet Expert?

Planets Large and Small Populate Our Galaxy (Infographic)

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Karl Tate
Space.com contributor

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.