The first extraterrestrial moons are being born: scientists think to have captured a small planet and embryonic moons at 370 light-years from Earth
- An image of the ALMA observatory in Chile shows the unpublished phenomenon at 370 light-years
- A circle of gas and dust, called the circumplanetary disk, forms around a growing planet in the PDS 70 star system.
- Scientists have said that the disc has a structure similar to that which gave birth to the many moons of Jupiter
- Images taken with the help of the huge antenna 66, which collected the millimeter wave radio signals showing the dust
A dusty circle surrounding a planet 370 light-years from Earth could indicate the birth of a moon for the very first time.
Images from the ALMA observatory in Chile show a slight red disk of dust surrounding a planet that revolves around the star PDS 70.
Scientists say the disc never seen before is a structure similar to the one that gave birth to Jupiter's many moons.
This image taken from the ALMA observatory in Chile could show the birth of a moon for the first time.
Researchers have recently discovered two planets, PDS 70c and PDS 70b, which revolve around the young star PDS 70.
And now, they have found evidence of a disk filled with dust, called a circumplanetary disk, around PDS 70c, which could start forming several moons.
Rice University astronomer in Houston, Texas, Andrea Isella told Science Daily: "Planets are forming from gas and dust discs around stars in formation, and if a planet is big enough, she can form her own disc when she collects materials in her orbit. around the star.
"Jupiter and its moons are a small planetary system in our solar system, for example, and it is thought that the moons of Jupiter were formed from a circumplanetary disk when Jupiter was very young.
A weak disk of dust surrounds a large planet, giving birth to a new moon, as evidenced by the star system PDS 70.
"For the first time, we can conclusively see the telltale signs of a circumplanetary disk, which supports many of the current theories of the formation of the planet.
"By comparing our observations to high-resolution infrared and optical images, we can see that an otherwise enigmatic concentration of tiny dust particles is a dust disk that surrounds the planet, the first feature of this type ever conclusively observed. . "
Using the huge antenna 66, Andrea and her colleagues collected millimeter-wave radio signals indicating the dust particles around the PDS 70c.
The circumplanetary disk was captured around the growing planet PDS 70c and could represent growing moons. The two light spots, 70b and 70c, are associated with newly formed moons
At first, they thought it was only gas, but they soon realized that it was circumplanetary disks, the structure from which moons are formed.
Circumplanetary disks disappear after about 10 million years and it is thought that they appeared less than 4 billion years ago in our solar system.
Mr. Isella added, "We do not really understand how the planets are formed. Finally, we have the tools to make direct observations and begin to answer questions about the formation of our solar system and the formation of other planets.
"We will be able to revisit this system at different times and map the planet orbit more easily and the amount of dust in the system.
"This will give us unique insights into the orbital properties of solar systems in their very early stages of development."