It is always a nice little escape from everyday worries and think about something in everyday life you almost do not face (if you are an astronomer, of course) – we are talking about the formation of planets in the vastness of the boundless Universe. Scientists have recently discovered direct evidence that around young star AB Aurigae is formed planet. As shown by the image obtained using the very large telescope (VLT), located in the desert Attacks in Chile, a spiral disk of gas and dust surrounding the star, contains a small S-shaped bend near the center of the spiral. This turn, say the astronomers, is the exact place where should be formed new planet. But even more remarkable is that the star at a distance of about 520 light years from Earth in the constellation Aurigae, only 4 million years! It is one thousandth of the age of the Sun, so on a cosmic scale, star AB Auriga – just a kid.
Astronomers have peered into what seems like a planetary hospital – within a huge disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star, visible process of planet formation.
Being born a star system?
The authors of a study published in the may issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, argue that the astronomers results completely coincide with those predicted by models of planetary formation. But how do they form? We know that stars are born and die, and exactly the same happens with the planets. In fact, the General picture of planet formation is understandable since the eighteenth century: under the influence of its own gravity, the cloud of gas and dust begin to contract. Over time the cloud begins to stand a Central object, the future star, and around it the disk. In this disk are all the future inhabitants of this planetary system, including comets and asteroids.
The image obtained using the very large telescope of the European southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, the scientists saw spiral structure in a rotating disk around the star AB Aurigae. If you look closely, the red, yellow and orange spiral like a cyclone with a black “eye” in the center. As the study authors write, they found “twisted” structure of gas and dust in the spiral structure, where there is a place for the formation of the planet. But that planet is finally formed, it will take several million years, so how long does the process of birth is difficult to determine accurately. But can we know what this planet?
Since the exact mass of a potential planet is unknown, it probably was supposed to be a gas giant like Jupiter and not a rocky planet like ours. The researchers believe so because otherwise the planet would not have created such big waves in the disk. Moreover, it may not be one planet, but two – and the second, do not exclude the astronomers – can be located at the outer edge of the disc.
How to watch the formation of planets?
In the past, the astronomers saw merely a large-scale spirals, which the researchers believe was created by invisible planets in disks of gas and dust around young stars. Theories about how planets unite and gather the material of these disks, predicting that the movement of the planets will be even more to spin the gas around them, pinpointing the location of the planet.
From the beginning of the discovery of exoplanets, to date, aware of the existence of more than 4,000 planets orbiting stars outside our Solar system. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that scientists seek to learn more about how they are born, since cool gas and dust konsolidiruyutsya in disks surrounding new stars. It is important to understand that until now has been identified thousands of exoplanets, but how they are formed has been known quite a bit. Meanwhile, the study of this process helps scientists learn more about how it formed our Solar system.
Partly, the problem lies in the fact that in the past scientists simply didn’t possess the necessary technology, and, until recently, had not received sufficiently clear and deep images of these young disks to discover the same “turn”, where a planet. According to lead study author Dr. Boccaletti, the planet is about 30 times farther from its star than earth is from the Sun — which is equivalent to the distance of the planet Neptune in our Solar system.