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Oct 19, 2011 7:36 PM by Matt Stafford

Hawaii astronomer captures first image of forming planet

HONOLULU (AP) - A University of Hawaii astronomer has captured the first direct image of a planet forming around a star.

The Institute for Astronomy says Adam Krause used Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea to find the planet. He was working with Michael Ireland from Macquarie University and the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

LkCa 15 b is 450 light years away from Earth and is being built by dust and gas. It's the youngest planet ever found.

Kraus presented the discovery Wednesday at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Scientists hadn't been able to see such young planets before because they're so close to stars that the stars' light outshines them.

Krause and Ireland used mirrors to cancel out the starlight and were able to see disks of dust near the planet.

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