This is what a newborn planet looks like

A young solar system in

A young solar system in

That is necessary for observation, because stars shine shines so brightly that dimmer sources of light - such as starlight reflected from the surface of planets - can not otherwise be observed. But it has never been seen before - until now.

European Southern Observatory teams used a powerful planet-hunting instrument called SPHERE on the Very Large Telescope in the Atacama Desert, Chile, to produce the image.

It is located roughly three billion kilometers from the central star, roughly equivalent to the distance between Uranus and the Sun.

Until now, it had proven impossible to capture the birth of a planet as it is usually obscured by dust, but now they've finally managed to get shots of a planet breaking out of a "disc" from which it is formed.

An worldwide team of astronomers has released the first image ever captured of a planet being born in deep space.


Researchers have long suspected the existence of the planet in orbit around the star PDS 70, but now they have the proof. A second team, involving numerous same astronomers as the discovery team, including Keppler, has in the past months followed up the initial observations to investigate PDS 70's fledgling planetary companion in more detail. Currently, PDS 70d is busy carving a path through the planet-forming material surrounding the young star, the researchers note, making it instantly stand out.

"The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc". "Without this mask, the faint light from the planet would be utterly overwhelmed by the intense brightness of PDS 70", the scientists spell out.

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. By carefully parsing the data underlying the new imagery, astronomers are able to determine some of the planet's chemical and physical properties.

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.

"Keppler's results give us a new window onto the complex and poorly-understood early stages of planetary evolution", André Müller, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, said in a news release. What makes this discovery so interesting is that it's the first time that scientists have managed to spot such a young planet with utter certainty.

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