Scientists just discovered a "baby giant" planet closer to Earth than any other — a mere 330 light years away.
The exoplanet — a planet beyond our solar system — was discovered by scientists at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the findings were published in Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society.
Named 2MASS 1155-7919 b, the planet has an uncommonly wide orbit around its "parent" star — 600 times farther than the distance between Earth and the sun. The origin of systems so far from their parent star are the "subject of vigorous debate," according to the findings. Scientists are hoping to further study 2Mass 1155-7919 b to understand how giant planets can have such wide orbits, per a press release from RIT.
The planet's parent star is just 5 million years old, making it 1,000 times younger than the sun, per the release.
2Mass 1155-7919 b is an infant, so it's likely still in the process of forming, said Annie Dickson-Vandervelde, lead author of the paper. But it's already roughly 10 times the mass of Jupiter, one of the gas giants in our solar system. The new planet was discovered using data from the Gaia space observatory, which was launched in 2013 by the European Space Agency.