Scientists Capture First Ever Confirmed Image of a Planet Being Born

Scientists Capture First Ever Confirmed Image of a Planet Being Born

A stunning new image published by the European Southern Observatory in Chile has shed new light on how planets are born.

The image, captured with advanced, surface-based telescopes, shows the new planet developing around the dwarf star PDS 70, which is located around 370 light-years from Earth.

"These disks around young stars are the birthplaces of planets, but so far only a handful of observations have detected hints of baby planets in them", discovery leader Miriam Keppler, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, said in a statement. But unlike Jupiter, whose temperature is a chilly minus-163 degrees Fahrenheit or so, this planet is far hotter than any planet in our solar system, Meyer said, with a temperature of around 1,340 to 2,420 degrees. What makes this discovery so interesting is that it's the first time that scientists have managed to spot such a young planet with utter certainty.

"We needed to observe a planet in a young star's disc to really understand the processes behind planet formation", Müller added in the statement.

Astronomers known that planets form from solar clouds which stars leave behind when they come into a being, but until now, the details surrounding the phenomena have been mysterious. The ESOcast Light episodes will not be replacing the standard, longer ESOcasts, but complement them with current astronomy news and images in ESO press releases. The instrument is considered to be one of the most powerful planet hunters in existence.

'The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc'. A forming planet, in comparison, is little more than an infant. That's about the distance between Uranus and our Sun.

The most widely accepted theory is that planets are created from the material left over when a star forms.

PDS 70b has an atmosphere - but it's no place you'd want to visit.

By determining the planet's atmospheric and physical properties, the astronomers are able to test theoretical models of planet formation. Data compiled by SPHERE also allowed the researchers to deduce that the planet's atmosphere is cloudy.

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