With the ALMA telescope, astronomers find for the first time evidence of a moon-forming disk around an exoplanet. But an important key is still missing.
Astronomers have clearly for the first time Disk around a planet outside our solar system got to know. The unprecedented observation was with the radio telescope observatory alma Recorded. Researchers gain new insight into how moon and planets Forms in young planetary systems.
“Our work is clear evidence of a disk in which natural satellites can form,” says researcher Miriam Benisti from the University of Grenoble, France and the University of Chile. She directed the new study.
ALMA observations were obtained with excellent resolution. “We could clearly see that the disk is attached to the planet. We have also been able to deduce their size for the first time,” says Benisti.
Moon-forming disc exoplanet PDS 70c. surrounds
The discovery is a so-called elliptical disk that surrounds the exoplanet PDS 70c. PDS 70c is one of two giant, Jupiter-like planets orbiting a star about 400 light-years away. There was already evidence of a “moon-forming” disk around this exoplanet. But success has only been achieved now. The evidence could not be pre-confirmed, as the vane could not be clearly distinguished from its surroundings.
Circoplanetary Disk: Definition
A circumplanetary disk is a ring-shaped collection, torus, or pancake composed of fragments of gas, dust, planets, asteroids, or collisions in orbit around a planet. Around the planets, the discs are stores of material from which the moons may have arisen.
Now the diameter of the disk found is equal to the distance of Earth from our Sun. The mass is also enough to make three natural moons the size of the moon.
The study was published in the specialist journal “The Astrophysical Journal Letters” and explores not only the formation of moons.
“These new observations are also extremely important for testing theories about planet formation that have not yet been tested,” says study author Jehan Bay, a researcher at the Earth and Planetary Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution for Science, USA. Huh.
Exoplanet PDS 70c orbits a star
PDS 70c is an exoplanet orbiting the star PDS 70. It is located at a distance of about 370.0 light years (113.4 pc) from the Solar System. PDS 70c was discovered in 2019. PDS 70 is a very young T Tauri star in the constellation Centaurus.
how planets form
Planets form in dusty disks around young stars. In doing so, they dig gaps in them while consuming material from this circumstellar disk for their development. During this process the planets can form their own ecliptic disk, which allows the object to grow. Meanwhile, the amount of material falling on the planet is controlled.
The gas and dust in the perihelion disk can condense in parallel through multiple collisions to form larger and larger structures – this gives rise to the Moon.
Astronomers are still puzzled
However, with this new discovery, all the details of these processes are not yet understood.
“In short, it is still unclear when, where and how planets and moons form,” explains ESO Research Fellow Stefano Facchini.
“So far more than 4,000 exoplanets have been found, but they have all been discovered in evolved systems. PDS 70 b and PDS 70 c, which form a system that is reminiscent of the Jupiter-Saturn pair, have been discovered so far There are only two exoplanets that are still in the process of formation,” explains researcher Miriam Kepler of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. in Germany and one of the study’s co-authors.
“This system therefore provides us with a unique opportunity to observe and study the processes involved in the formation of planets and natural satellites,” Facchini says.
First search in 2018
PDS 70b and PDS 70c, the two planets that make up the system, were first discovered with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2018 and 2019. Because of his uniqueness, he has since been featured several times. binoculars Seen.
Astronomers also found through ALMA images that PDS 70b shows no clear evidence of such a disk. This in turn indicates that PDS 70c has removed dust material from the environment in which it was born.
To gain further knowledge of the planetary system with the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) from ESO. It is currently being built on Cerro Armazón in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
“The ELT will be the key to this research because, with its much higher resolution, it will allow us to map the system in great detail,” says co-author Richard Teague, researcher at the Center for Astrophysics. Harvard & Smithsonian, USA.