A new planet has been discovered orbiting a star 1,200 light years away. While exoplanets are discovered all the time these days, this one was discovered by direct observation. You can see it in the image as the small brown dot to the upper left of the bluish central star. It’s kind of amazing that we can see it directly, but it’s also kind of amazing that it exists at all.
The new planet orbits a star known as CVSO 30. It has a mass of about 5 Jupiters, and orbits the star at a distance of about 660 AU, with an orbital period of about 27,000 years. It’s large size and distance is the reason we can observe it directly. CVSO 30 is known to have at least one other planet, which orbits the star about every 10 hours.
What’s interesting is that CVSO 30 is a T-Tauri star, and still in the process of forming. It’s unlikely that such a large planet could have formed in its current location, so it is probably the product of a close interaction with another planetary body. It likely formed much closer to the star, and then was thrown into it’s current wide orbit. It’s a good example of just how dynamic early solar systems can be.
Paper: T. O. B. Schmidt, et al. Direct Imaging discovery of a second planet candidate around the possibly transiting planet host CVSO 30. arXiv:1605.05315 [astro-ph.EP] (2016)