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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

Job gains slow sharply as U.S. adds 210k jobs in November

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 4.2% from 4.6%.

Why it matters: Job gains slowed sharply, but the labor market recovery remains on track.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Huawei sanctions snarled chip supply chains

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The largely successful U.S. effort to hobble China's Huawei has benefitted a host of other tech companies — from smartphone makers such as Apple and Xiaomi to chipmakers like Qualcomm to network vendors including Nokia and Ericsson.

Yes, but: The massive disruption to the industry furthered an industry wide mismatch between supply and demand, exacerbating the global chip shortage.