Scientists capture first ever image of newborn planet

In the image provided by ESO (seen above), the planet is seen as a bright mass to the right of its host star which has been blacked out by a mask that allows the surrounding detail to be seen.

Astronomers have captured stunning images showing the birth of a planet.

The image was produced by an advanced piece of equipment within the Very Large Telescope array at the European Southern Observatory's facility in northern Chile.

The researchers report the discovery of PDS 70b and its measured and inferred characteristics in a pair of new studies, both of which were published online today (July 2) in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Astronomers have captured the first confirmed image of a newborn planet, forming around a young dwarf star 370 light years away.

'The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc'. The instrument is considered to be one of the most powerful planet hunters in existence.

Because this is the first time we've seen this, it is even more important as it means that we can use PDS 70b as a yardstick against which to measure any further instances. The surface temperature is now a steamy 1000 degrees Celsius (1832 degrees F).


They also deduced that it has a cloudy atmosphere.

For comparison purposes, NASA notes that the temperature of Jupiter's center is approximately 24,000°C, "hotter than the surface of the Sun!"

The planet, "PDS 70b" is a large body of gas, with several times more mass than Jupiter, in a lonely rotation 3 billion miles from the star it rotates.

The planet takes approximately 120 years to orbit its star, the researchers added in the research paper that detailed their findings. Of course, the center isn't naturally this dark.

"Keppler's results give us a new window onto the comple and poorly-understood early stages of planetary evolution", said André Müller, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and leader of the second team to investigate the new planet.

Despite the fact that it can take ages for a planet to fully form, actually capturing the process of planet formation has proven to be incredibly hard.

"After more than a decade of enormous efforts to build this high-tech machine, now SPHERE enables us to reap the harvest with the discovery of baby planets!"

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