• Tuesday, Jun 02, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:30 am

For first time, scientists spot an alien planet as it is being formed

  • Published at 04:36 pm May 21st, 2020
AB Aurigae star
The disc around the young AB Aurigae star, where ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has spotted signs of planet birth is seen in an image obtained with the VLT's SPHERE instrument in polarized light and released May 20, 2020 Reuters

The scientists used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile to spot a spiral structure within the swirling disk around AB Aurigae

Astronomers have gazed into what appears to be a planetary maternity ward, observing for the first time within a huge disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star a planet in the process of being born.

This large young planet is forming around a star called AB Aurigae that is about 2.4 times the mass of the sun and located in our Milky Way galaxy 520 light years from Earth, researchers said on Wednesday. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km).

The scientists used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile to spot a spiral structure within the swirling disk around AB Aurigae generated by the presence of a planet. They detected a "twist" pattern of gas and dust in the spiral structure marking where the planet was coalescing.

"It takes several million years for a planet to be in its final stage, so birth is not well defined in time. However, we can say that we were likely able to catch a planet in the process of formation," said Observatoire de Paris astronomer Anthony Boccaletti, who led the research published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

More than 4,000 planets have been discovered orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Scientists are eager to learn more about how they are born as cold gas and dust consolidate in these disks surrounding new stars.

The planet is located about 30 times further from its star than Earth's distance from the sun - about the distance of the planet Neptune in our solar system, Boccaletti said. It appears to be a large gas planet, not a rocky planet like Earth or Mars, and may be more massive than our solar system's largest planet Jupiter, Boccaletti added.

1.1K
1.1K
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail