Well, sooner or later, they would’ve captured it—a photograph of a planet being born. And now, sooner than expected, astronomers did.
Unbelievable, isn’t it—how a planet could form entirely out of nothing, in space?
Astronomers captured the very first image of a planet forming in the dust, swirling around a young star. On Monday, July 2, scientists stated that the planet appears as a “bright spot in the snapshot”—which was taken using the “European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope” located in Chile. Moreover, Miriam Keppler (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy—Germany) said that hints of baby planets have been detected before, but yet astronomers weren’t really sure whether their observations were “features in the swirling dust.”
“Planets are born in circumstellar disks.” Keppler stated. “These disks are made out of gas and dust and surround young stars until a lifetime of about 10 million years. The exciting fact of our discovery is that we have here an exceptionally robust detection of a young planet, still embedded in such a disk.
The measurement of the spectrum gives us insights on how planetary atmospheres look at a very early stage of life. This is very important in order to calibrate theoretical models that predict the properties of planets as they evolve.”
According to a paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, scientists describe the planet as a gas giant bigger than Jupiter, located about 1.86 Billion miles from the star PDS-70. The astronomers say in the journal that the baby planet has a “cloudy atmosphere.” They also stated that the new planet has a surface temperature of about 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, lest the most important part as to the scientists’ study, is that the “sphere”—seen in the photograph above—blocks out the light from the star. This allows the researchers to observe the much-dimmer dust disk and planet at several different wavelengths. The old and new data show the distinct presence of a planet, thus leaving a gap behind it—followed by a trail.
Written by KFC, author of The 11th Syzygy, on 7/3/18.