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ESOcast 169 Light: First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet (4K UHD)

03 July 2018, 01:55 | Dale Webster

ESOcast 169 Light: First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet (4K UHD)

ESOcast 169 Light: First Confirmed Image of Newborn Planet (4K UHD)

Astronomers say they now have the first confirmed image of the formation of a planet, reports The Guardian.

The image, captured with advanced, surface-based telescopes, shows the new planet developing around the dwarf star PDS 70, which is located around 370 light-years from Earth.

Young dwarf star PDS 70 is less than 10 million years old, and its planetary companion is thought to be between five and six million years old. These data were gathered by two instruments on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, and one instrument at Hawaii's Gemini Observatory. Further analysis shows that the new planet is a giant gas planet with a total mass several times that of Jupiter. It has a surface temperature of around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius) and takes 120 years to orbit its host star.

"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", Miriam Keppler of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, who led one team, said in a statement.

The new planet - named PDS 70b - is orbiting roughly three billion miles from the central star, around the same distance between Uranus and the sun.




Researchers have always been on the hunt for a baby planet, and this is the first confirmed discovery of its kind. For the first time ever, astronomers have discovered a planet being formed and have shared the awe-inspiring image.

The image confirms newborn planets slice through these disks leaving holes and rings in their wake, researchers have said.

The planet can be seen just right of center inside the disk (the very bright blur).

"This discovery provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to test theoretical models of planet formation", said André Müller, a member of the research team. SPHERE also recorded the planet's brightness at different wavelengths.

"After this exciting discovery, I hope many more detections of [this] kind of planets will come in the future, enabling us to get a statistical view on the properties of young, forming planets", Keppler added. Thomas Henning, director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy said in the statement.



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