Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, Exoplanets, General Astronomy, Star & Solar System Formation > Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition to Planet Formation

Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition to Planet Formation


An international team of astronomers led by Satoshi Mayama (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan) and Ruobing Dong (Princeton University, U.S.A.) has made observations with the Subaru Telescope and captured the first vivid infrared image of a curved arm of dust extending over a hole on a disk around a young star–2MASS J16042165-2130284 (J 1604). This feature indicates the probable existence of unseen planets within the hole. The image shows the dynamic environment in which planets may be born and gives information about constraints on the distance at which planets can form from a central star.

Research over the past two decades has confirmed that new stars are often surrounded by disks of dense gas and dust (“protoplanetary disks”) from which planets form. A central star enters an active phase of planet building when it is a few million years old. During this period, newborn planets may deplete some of the gas and dust in the disk, producing a hole within it, although the outer ring remains. However, the debatable origins of the hole require direct observation to confirm this process. Direct imaging of the structures that indicate planet building inside of the hole have rarely occurred—until now.

Full Story: http://naoj.org/Pressrelease/2013/02/07/index.html

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