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PDS 70b (the bright spot to the middle left) forming around its star. Photo: NASA/ESA/University of Texas/STScI

The Hubble Space Telescope has caught sight of a huge planet forming around a star 370 light-years from Earth.

Why it matters: Named PDS 70b, the planet is the youngest ever directly imaged by the powerful telescope and could help scientists learn more about how worlds grow up around their stars.

What they found: The researchers used the Hubble to snap images of the planet as it gobbled up dust and gas around the orange dwarf star it orbits, according to a new study in The Astronomical Journal.

  • By observing the process in UV light, the scientists were also able to pin down the speed at which the world is growing.
  • The astronomers found the planet is five times Jupiter's mass after about 5 million years of growth, but its rate of growth has slowed down considerably.
  • "Our measurements suggest that the planet is in the tail end of its formation process," Yifan Zhou, an author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement.

What to watch: The team behind the new work also improved the way scientists can process images in the future, canceling out the light of the star in photos and making other worlds visible.

  • The new processing technique will allow scientists to directly image planets that are closer than ever before to their stars.
  • "With future observations, we could potentially discover when the majority of the gas and dust falls onto their planets and if it does so at a constant rate," Brendan Bowler, one of the authors of the study and a professor at UT Austin, said.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.

Democrats open to user fees for infrastructure deal

President Biden sits Thursday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) as they discuss his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some Senate Democrats are open to paying for a compromise infrastructure package by imposing user fees, including increasing the gas tax and raising money from electric car drivers through a vehicle-miles-traveled charge.

Why it matters: By inching toward the Republican position on pay-fors, some Democrats are bucking President Biden's push to offset his proposed $2.3 trillion plan by focusing only on raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.