Young planet creates a scene

Nestled in the young Ophiuchus star-forming region, 410 light-years from the Sun, a fascinating protoplanetary disc named AS 209 is slowly being carved into shape. This wonderful image was captured using the high-resolution ALMA telescope, revealing a curious pattern of rings and gaps in the dust surrounding a young star.

Protoplanetary discs are dense, rotating planes of gas and dust that surround newly formed stars; providing the matter that one day becomes orbiting planets, moons and other minor bodies. At less than one million years old, this system is very young, but already two clear gaps are being sculpted from the disc.

The outer gap is deep, wide, and largely a dust-free zone, leading astronomers to believe that a giant planet almost the mass of Saturn is orbiting here — around 800 light-minutes from the central star, and more than three times the distance between Neptune and the Sun! As the planet carves out its path, dust piles up at the outer edge of its orbit, creating ever more defined rings in the disc. The thinner, inner dust gap could have been formed by a smaller planet, but astronomers have raised the intriguing possibility that the large and distant circling planet in fact created both paths.

This inferred Saturn-like planet so far from its central star raises fascinating questions about planet formation at the edges of protoplanetary discs on particularly short timescales.

Link:

Mynd/Myndskeið:

ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/ D. Fedele et al.

Um myndina

Auðkenni:potw1809a
Tegund:Athuganir
Útgáfudagur:Feb 26, 2018, 06:00 CET
Stærð:2000 x 2000 px

Um fyrirbærið

Nafn:AS 209
Tegund:Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Disk : Protoplanetary
Fjarlægð:400 ljósár
Constellation:Ophiuchus
Flokkur:Exoplanets

Myndasnið

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Hnit

Position (RA):16 49 15.29
Position (Dec):-14° 22' 9.04"
Field of view:0.06 x 0.06 arcminutes
Stefna:Norður er 180.1° højre frá lóðréttu

Litir og síur

TíðnisviðBylgjulengdSjónauki
Millímetri
230 GHz
1.3 mmAtacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Band 6

 

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