NASA’s latest exoplanet discovery could help explain how planets evolve

NASA’s latest exoplanet discovery could help explain how planets evolve

Science

NASA has discovered a planet as large as Neptune orbiting a young, nearby star known as AU Microscopii that may serve as a one-of-a-kind laboratory for studying how planets evolve and interact with stars. AU Microscopii is so young that it is surrounded by a disc of debris left over from its formation. It is estimated to be about 20 million to 30 million years old, making it a stellar infant compared to our Sun, which is more than 150 times older.

For over a decade since the star was discovered, scientists have been looking for a planet around it, in the hope that this would help them better understand planetary evolution. The discovery was made using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the Spitzer Space Telescope, which has now been decommissioned.  The World Health Organization has declared the end of the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The DRC has been fighting Ebola since August 2018. It has now been more than 42 days, or two incubation periods, since the last survivor in the eastern DRC Ebola outbreak tested negative for the virus. The outbreak was the country’s 19th Ebola outbreak and the second-deadliest in history. However, surveillance of the disease will continue for at least six more months as cases due to a new introduction of the virus from the animal reservoir can occur.

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