Published: Вт, Июля 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Newborn planet pictured for first time


The coronagraph, which appears as a dark circle in the middle of the VLT image, works to block out the bright light of the host star - emissions that would otherwise overwhelm the telescope's ability to photograph and analyze the characteristics of the protoplanetary disk.

The discovery was made using the powerful planet-hunting tool called SPHERE, which is part of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.

Named PDS 70b, the planet is orbiting the central star at a distance of around three billion kilometres - similar to where Uranus is in our galaxy. The young planet is absolutely scorching, with a surface temperature topping 1,000 degrees Celsius.

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"PDS 70b, which is found in the large gap of its parental disk, now finally confirms that planets do play an important role in the formation of these gaps", said Keppler, who works at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.

Astronomers known that planets form from solar clouds which stars leave behind when they come into a being, but until now, the details surrounding the phenomena have been mysterious. Now, for the first time ever, astronomers have announced the witnessing of a planet in the midst of its own birth, and they've got a stunning image to back up the news. Data compiled by SPHERE also allowed the researchers to deduce that the planet's atmosphere is cloudy. "The problem is that, until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disk". Eventually, that "dust bunny" attracts more space materials until it grows bigger and bigger and forms a planet. Two sets of researchers, published in two different papers in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on Monday, detailed how a planet is formed. What makes this discovery so interesting is that it's the first time that scientists have managed to spot such a young planet with utter certainty.

"We needed to observe a planet in a young star's disc to really understand the processes behind planet formation", said André Müller, one of the authors of a second study looking at the planet. Thomas Henning, director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and leader of the teams, said in a statement.

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