- With a mass only about twice that of our Solar System's king planet, 51 Eridani b stands as perhaps the coldest and smallest exoplanet ever to be directly imaged. What's more, it bears the strongest exoplanetary signatures so far of the gas methane, which is prominent in Jupiter's atmosphere.
- Because of its youth, 51 Eridani b smolders at 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius), but it is still more than three million times less luminous than its stellar host. The newfound world and its star are just 20 million years young — spring chickens compared to our 4.6-billion-year-old Solar System.
51 Eridani b is the first world discovered using the Gemini Planet Imager, an international project led by Bruce Macintosh of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University.
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