OtherThe youngest planet in our galaxy has been discovered

The youngest planet in our galaxy has been discovered

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Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope to study planet formation have detected gas in a circumplanetary disk for the first time.

In addition, the discovery suggests the presence of a very young exoplanet.

The findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Circumplanetary disks are a collection of gas, dust and debris around very young planets. They contain the material from which natural satellites and other small objects can form, while controlling the formation of young and giant planets.

Analysis of these disks in their earliest stages could provide more details about the formation of the solar system, including the Galilean satellites, Jupiter’s four natural moons, which scientists believe formed in a circumplanetary disk of Jupiter 4.5 billion years ago.

It could be the youngest exoplanet discovered so far

While studying AS 209, a young star in the constellation Ophiuchus about 395 light-years from Earth, astronomers noticed a light emitted in the middle of what appeared to be empty space in the gas surrounding the star. This led to the discovery of a circumplanetary disk surrounding a planet that could have a mass similar to Jupiter.

Given the planet’s distance from the star and the age of the star, researchers are watching the system closely. The exoplanet is more than 200 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun) from its host star.

If the star’s estimated age of 1.6 million years is confirmed, this exoplanet could be the youngest ever discovered. Further research and observations will be conducted with the James Webb Space Telescope. We hope that the observatory will confirm the existence of the planet.

The best way to study planet formation

“The best way to study planet formation is to observe planets as they form. We live in very exciting times because we can do this with powerful telescopes like ALMA and JWST,” said Jaehan Bae, professor of astronomy at the College of Florida and lead author of the study, quoted by SchiTechDaily.

Astronomers have suspected the presence of circumplanetary disks around exoplanets for some time, but only recently have they been able to prove it.

In 2019, scientists from ALMA first discovered a circumplanetary disk forming natural satellites while observing exoplanet PDS 70c, and the discovery was confirmed in 2021.

New observations of AS 209 could reveal details about the evolution of planetary atmospheres and the processes by which moons are formed.

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