Published: Thu, July 05, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

First confirmed image of the birth of a planet

First confirmed image of the birth of a planet

An worldwide team of scientists has discovered a young planet - only 5 or 6 million years old - making its way through space and possibly moving on the way.Scientists captured a picture, which they say is that the first direct image of the birth of a planet is still being created around a star.

The dark region at the centre of the image is due to a coronagraph, a mask which blocks the blinding light of the central star and allows astronomers to detect its much fainter disc and planetary companion.

It's carving out a path through the disk around the star, which is in the Centaurus constellation. Specifically, the researchers saw the disk of gas and dust, which consists of leftovers from when the parent star of PDS 70b was forming.

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This baby planet is forming in a gap within the swirling disk of matter. By using the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) - one of the most powerful planet-hunting instruments in existence - the worldwide team has made the first robust detection of a young planet, named PDS 70b, cleaving a path through the planet-forming material surrounding the young star.

The scientists hope the discovery will lend more clues into how planets, including our own, are formed. The team's results will appear in the Journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

"These discs around young stars are the birthplaces of planets, but so far only a handful of observations have detected hints of baby planets in them".

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In a monumental event, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany have snapped an image of a baby planet still in the process of formation. The was the first direct image of a planet, which is still formed around the star.

He says, 'This discovery provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to test theoretical models of planet formation'. The hunting instrument is called as SPHERE. It has a surface temperature of around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius) and takes 120 years to orbit its host star. They estimate PDS 70 b to be a very large planet - several times larger than Jupiter, according to a press release from the European Southern Observatory. Analysis of this spectrum indicated that its atmosphere is cloudy. This star bud is clearly visible in this image obtained by SPHERE: a luminous point, to the right of the center of the image, where the star is masked by the coronagraph. That's the same distance as Uranus from our sun.

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