Thursday, 22 August, 2019

Three Baby Planets Discovered with the Help of ALMA

ALMA image of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HD 163296 as seen in dust. Credit ALMA; A. Isella B. Saxton Image ALMA image of the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HD 163296. Pic ALMA
Sandra Phillips | 15 June, 2018, 23:11

Pine's team discovered a planet an estimated 39 billion kilometers (24 million miles) from infant star HD 163296, while the other team, led by University of MI astronomer Richard Teague, located two planets roughly 12 billion and 21 billion kilometres (7.4 billion and 13 billion miles) from the star. The astronomers studied the uncommon patterns in the flow of gas within a planet that forms disc around a young star. Some we can not see at all- we just understand they exist through to indirect evidence. HD 163296 is about four million years old and is 330 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

"When a planet forms in a protoplanetary disk it can carve a gap and produce wakes in the disk". One team, led by University of MI scientist Richard Teague discovered a pair of Jupiter-sized exoplanets 7.4 billion miles (12 billion km) and 13 billion miles (21 million km) from the star.

Testing its new method, the team confirmed the previously predicted existence of two Jupiter-mass planets around HD 163296. "Though rather than looking at the changes in wavelength from the wobble of the star, we're diving deep into the disk to see how the fine-scale changes are happening".

"This probably means we are just at the beginning of such discoveries with ALMA", Christophe Pinte, lead author of the second paper and professor in Monash University's school of physics and astronomy, said in an email.

Two teams of researchers have independently discovered a trio of young planets orbiting a newborn star close to the solar system.

Scientists have been studying a distant exoplanet that is very young.

The team led by Teague identified two distinctive planet-like patterns in the disk, one at approximately 80 astronomical units (AU) from the star and the other at 140 AU.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has transformed our understanding of protoplanetary discs - the gas- and dust-filled planet factories that encircle young stars.

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Subtle changes in the wavelength of that light as it travelled through the gas allowed the scientists to figure out what was orbiting the star. Researchers are hoping this technique, applied to other disks, will reveal more planets information and help us understand how gravity molds primordial clouds into planetary systems, including our own.

Pinte's team identified the outermost planet in the HD 163296 system.

The images captured by ALMA of HD 163296 show concentric rings and gaps around the star, which scientists believe are the protoplanetary disks. It has one major drawback, though: planetary transits are observable only when the planet's orbit happens to be perfectly aligned with the astronomers' line of sight. "It is therefore crucial to study kinematics of the gas".

Richard Teague et al.

AUs, or astronomical units, is a unit of measurement the distance between the Earth and our sun.

The discovery is detailed in two different studies published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on Wednesday.

"Also, by detecting planets at this young stage, we have the best opportunity yet to test how their atmospheres are formed and what molecules are delivered in this process".

Kinematic evidence for an embedded protoplanet in a circumstellar disc, by C. Pinte et al., 2018, to appear in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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