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Twisting gas and dust 520 light-years away from Earth may be the first evidence of a baby planet

Stunning image of twisting gas and dust 520 light-years away from Earth may be the first direct evidence of new planet coming to existence

  • ESO napped stunning images of dust and gas twirling in the constellation Auriga 
  • The formation sits 520 light-years from Earth and may be the birth of planet
  •  Baby planets ‘kick’ the gas, creating disturbances in the disc forming a wave

A fiery spiral structure has been spotted twisting 520 light years from Earth that may be the first evidence of a new planet coming into existence.

The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope snapped stunning images of dust and gas twirling in the constellation Auriga.

Researchers noted that the spirals signify the presence of baby planets, which ‘kick’ the gas, creating ‘disturbances in the disc in the form of a wave.’

The very bright yellow ‘twist’ region close to the center is one of these disturbance sites where the team believes a planet is being made.

 

A fiery spiral structure spotted twisting 520 light years from Earth may be the first evidence of a new planet coming into existence. The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope snapped stunning images of dust and gas twirling in the constellation Auriga

The Aurigae system was observed a few years ago with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. 

Then a team of international scientists used the Very Large Telescope to investigate the constellation that was observed in 2018.

Anthony Boccaletti who led the study from the Observatory of Paris, PSL University, France, said: ‘Thousands of exoplanets have been identified so far, but little is known about how they form.’

‘We need to observe very young systems to really capture the moment when planets form.’ 

In 2019, the team activated the SPHERE instrument on the telescope located in Chile, allowing them to see the fainter light from small dust grans and emissions coming from the inner disc.

After confirming the spiral arms, scientists noticed the ‘twist’ that suggests an ongoing planet formation in the disc.

Co-author Anne Dutrey said: ‘The twist is expected from some theoretical models of planet formation.’

‘It corresponds to the connection of two spirals—one winding inwards of the planet’s orbit, the other expanding outwards—which join at the planet location. They allow gas and dust from the disc to accrete onto the forming planet and make it grow.’

Researchers noted that the spirals signify the presence of baby planets, which 'kick' the gas, creating 'disturbances in the disc in the form of a wave.' The very bright yellow 'twist' region close to the center is one of these disturbance sites where the team believes a planet is being made

Researchers noted that the spirals signify the presence of baby planets, which ‘kick’ the gas, creating ‘disturbances in the disc in the form of a wave.’ The very bright yellow ‘twist’ region close to the center is one of these disturbance sites where the team believes a planet is being made

ESO is in the works of constructing the 127-foot Extremely Large Telescope, which will pull technology from both the  ALMA and SPHERE to study extrasolar worlds.

As Boccaletti explains, this powerful telescope will allow astronomers to get even more detailed views of planets in the making.

‘We should be able to see directly and more precisely how the dynamics of the gas contributes to the formation of planets,’ he concludes.

WHAT IS THE VERY LARGE TELESCOPE?

The European Southern observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.

It is called the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and is widely regarded as one of the most advanced optical instruments ever made.

It consists of four telescopes, whose main mirrors measures 27 feet (8.2 metres) in diameter.

There are also four movable six feet (1.8 metre) diameter auxiliary telescopes.

The large telescopes are called Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun. 

The European Southern observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and called it the Very Large Telescope (VLT).

The European Southern observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and called it the Very Large Telescope (VLT).

The first of the Unit Telescopes, ‘Antu’, went into routine scientific operations on April 1, 1999.

The telescopes can work together to form a giant ‘interferometer’.

This interferometer allows images to be filtered for any unnecessary obscuring objects and, as a result, astronomers can see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes.  

It has been involved in spotting the first image of an extrasolar planet as well as tracking individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

It also observed the afterglow of the furthest known Gamma Ray Burst, 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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