Astronomers capture first images of a planet’s birth

As a recent update, the instrument has identified a baby planet formation from a very small star named PDS 70b and it is estimated to be 10-million years old with a surface temperature of about 1000 deg.C. "We needed to observe a planet in a young star's disc to really understand the processes behind planet formation". The new scientists, many of whom were involved in the initial discovery, were successful in obtaining a spectrum of the planet that revealed a cloudy atmosphere.

The theory of how gas planets form from a vortex of hydrogen and helium molecules captured by their own gravity is now widely accepted by scientists.

From the observations, astronomers found that the planet has a temperature of about 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000 degrees Celsius), which makes the gas giant way too toasty for life at this point.

The SPHERE instrument equips one of the four telescopes of the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (VLT) in Chile. PDS 70b creates a complete class once every 120 Earth years.

With help from one of Earth's most powerful telescopes, an worldwide team of astronomers has snapped a spectacular snapshot of a newborn planet emerging from the disk of gas and debris surrounding its host star. The scientists employed a coronagraph so as to obstruct the blazing star's light to watch the planet and the disc.

For the first time in human history, scientists have captured imagery that shows a planet being born.

"The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc", she said.

The distance between the planet and star is about 3 billion kilometers or 1.9 billion miles, roughly equal to the gap separating Uranus and the sun. The data acquired on the new planet's atmospheric and physical properties will now allow the astronomers to test theoretical models of planet formation.

"Keppler's results give us a new window onto the complex and poorly-understood early stages of planetary evolution", added André Müller, leader of the second team to investigate the young planet.

"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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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