Berlin, July 22 (EFE). An international team of astronomers has discovered for the first time a disk of the moon forming around a planet outside the solar system, a discovery that will help study how moons and planets form in their youth. star systems.
Images obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), of which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, made it possible to observe this disk in which satellites could form, ESO said in a statement Thursday.
“Our observations with ALMA were obtained with such remarkable accuracy that we were able to clearly identify the disk’s association with the planet and were able to constrain its size for the first time,” said the researcher from Grenoble Universities (France). ) and Chile who led the study, Miriam Benesti.
The disk, called a planetary, surrounds the exoplanet PDS70c, one of the only two stars discovered so far that is still forming and orbits a star about 400 light-years away.
Although the astronomical community has previously detected indications of a “moon-forming” disk around PDS70c, they have not been able to clearly distinguish the disk from its surroundings yet.
Using ALMA, scientists have discovered that the disk is roughly the same diameter as the distance between the Sun and Earth and enough mass to form up to three moon-sized satellites.
Planets form in dusty disks around young stars, dull holes as they swallow matter from this oceanic disk that allows it to grow, and in the process, a planet can acquire a planet-specific disk, which contributes to the planet’s growth by regulating the amount of matter that falls on it.
At the same time, gas and dust from the planetary disk can coalesce into larger and larger bodies through multiple collisions, eventually giving birth to moons, the scientists reported in the note.
Although the astronomical community is familiar with these processes, they still do not fully understand the details.
“In short, it is not yet clear when, where and how planets and moons form,” explained ESO researcher Stefano Faccini, who was also involved in the research.
The scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Germany) and one of the study’s co-authors, Miriam Kepler, indicated that the exoplanets PDS 70b and PDS 70c are the only two exoplanets discovered so far that are still being studied. Therefore, Faccini noted, it represents a “unique opportunity” to observe and study the formation processes of planets and satellites.
These two system-forming planets were first discovered using ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and due to their unique nature, they have been observed with other telescopes and instruments several times since then.
Las últimas observaciones de alta resolución de ALMA han permitido a la comunidad astronómica descubrir también que PDS 70b no muestra evidencia clara de tener el tipo de disco observado en el PDS 70c, lo que indica que pol este en ma conteria en vor place of increase.
According to scientists, ESO’s Very Large Telescope (ELT) – currently under construction at Cerro Armazone, in the Chilean Atacama Desert – will provide a deeper understanding of this planetary system and will be able to observe the motions of the gas surrounding PDS 70c for a complete 3D picture of the system . EFE
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