Perhaps even more interesting than the possibility of finding planets being formed is the fact that this star is the closest pre-main-sequence star ever found. In other words, the star is so new that it still has a significant amount of lithium, because it’s still generating more energy from gravitational contraction than from nuclear reactions (which destroy lithium).
To see how our solar system arose, astronomers point their telescopes at young stars. But these stars are usually so far away, the view is murky. Now a stellar newborn has turned up on Earth’s doorstep. Named AP Columbae, the star is so young it has yet to spark its main nuclear flame, and it’s so nearby—a mere 27 light-years from Earth—that scientists might be able to glimpse the glow of orbiting planets still cooling off from their formation.