10-billion-year-old exoplanet discovered
Astronomers have identified a new rocky exoplanet, a so-called 'Super Earth' that is so old that it makes our world seem like a teenager. The newly revealed planet has an estimated age of 10 billion years, making it almost as old as the universe itself (Earth, by comparison, is just 4.5 billion years old).
The exoplanet, some 280 light-years from us, orbits an orange dwarf named TOI-561. Because it's so close to its parent star, it zips around it in a mere 10.5 hours, and is thought to be so staggeringly hot that it's not likely to house life. "Its existence," said astronomer Lauren Weiss, "shows that the universe has been forming rocky planets almost since its inception 14 billion years ago."
The rocky world known as TOI-561 b (pictured above in an artist rendition) is thought to be around 1.45 times the size of Earth. It was found by NASA's space telescope TESS, along with two other planets in the same ancient solar system. Further details at Science Alert.