New baby planet shot 370 light years away from Earth

With Very Large Telescope, astronomers spy a planet being born around a young star

With Very Large Telescope, astronomers spy a planet being born around a young star

For the first time ever, scientists have captured the act of planet formation using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile and its planet-hunting instrument SPHERE.

A second team was put together to further investigate the baby planet. Similar to how the earth revolves around the sun, the PDS 70 b planet has also been recorded to be zooming around its star but the distance is larger as compared to that between earth and sun. The team discovered that PDS 70b is a giant gas planet bigger than Jupiter and with a surface temperature of around 1000°C, far surpassing any hot planet in Earth's Solar System. The scientists employed a coronagraph so as to obstruct the blazing star's light to watch the planet and the disc. Named after its star, the planet is dubbed PDS 70b.

Astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany have captured the first image of a planet being born.

Because this planet is a gas giant just like Jupiter is, monitoring its growth could reveal more about how quickly Jupiter formed alongside Earth. The planet stands out clearly in the image, visible as a bright point to the right of the blackened centre.

They also deduced that it has a cloudy atmosphere.


Other images have shown planetlike features in the disks around their host stars, but it was always hard to tell for sure that the features represented actual planets.

Another scientist who took part in the research connected with the discovery, André Müller, stated that the latest findings let them see the complex early stages of planetary evolution through a new window. "This is especially important because people have been wondering [for a long time], how these planets actually form and how the dust and the material in this disc forms [into] a planet, and now we can directly observe this".

By studying the photos, the researchers were able to conclude that the planet was so new because it was still close to the location of its birthplace, and might have still been finishing its formation.

"This glimpse of the dust-shrouded birth of a planet was only possible thanks to the impressive technological capabilities of ESO's SPHERE instrument, which studies exoplanets and discs around nearby stars using a technique known as high-contrast imaging - a challenging feat", ESO writes.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.