Two Giant Newborn Exoplanets are Amazing Astronomers

Science discovered over the years many stunning aspects of our own solar systems – the storms on Jupiter, the amazing photos taken at Pluto, the Sun’s flares, the odd orbit of Uranus, and much more. But why not expand the exploration beyond our solar system? The offer is very generous, as only our Milky Way galaxy has hundreds of billions of stars.

New evidence reveals that older pictures capturing the birth of two exoplanets orbiting the star PDS 70 are authentic. The star is located 369.9 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Centaurus. To make the discovery, a Caltech-led team of astronomers had been using a new infrared pyramid wavefront sensor for adaptive optics (AO) correction from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Planets are born from dust and gas

Jason Wang, who is lead author of the study and a Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellow at Caltech, said:

There was some confusion when the two protoplanets were first imaged,

Planet embryos form from a disk of dust and gas surrounding a newborn star. This circumstellar material accretes onto the protoplanet, creating a kind of smokescreen that makes it difficult to differentiate the dusty, gaseous disk from the developing planet in an image.

Scientists believe that the new technology regarding the infrared detector used in the sensor has improved the studying of exoplanets, and those regions of space where planet formation is occurring also have more chances of getting better examination. Planets are born due to gravity acting on the large amount of dust and gas revolving around a relatively young star. Gravity not only keeps our feet on the ground, it decisively helped for the formation of planets, stars, and even entire galaxies!

Astronomers are hoping to get more insights about our galaxy by using the new infrared pyramid wavefront sensor for adaptive optics (AO).

The results were published in The Astronomical Journal.


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