Home > Agencies & Organisations, Astronomy, Astrophysics, Exoplanets, General Astronomy, NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) > Hubble Uncovers Evidence For Extrasolar Planet Under Construction

Hubble Uncovers Evidence For Extrasolar Planet Under Construction


Nearly 900 extrasolar planets have been confirmed to date, but now for the first time astronomers think they are seeing compelling evidence for a planet under construction in an unlikely place, at a great distance from its diminutive red dwarf star.

The keen vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a mysterious gap in a vast protoplanetary disk of gas and dust swirling around the nearby star TW Hydrae, located 176 light-years away in the constellation Hydra (the Sea Serpent). The gap’s presence is best explained as due to the effects of a growing, unseen planet that is gravitationally sweeping up material and carving out a lane in the disk, like a snow plow.

Researchers, led by John Debes of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., found the gap about 7.5 billion miles from the red dwarf star. If the putative planet orbited in our solar system, it would be roughly twice Pluto’s distance from the Sun.

Full Story: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/20/full/
Also: http://carnegiescience.edu/news/exoplanet_formation_surprise

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