Scientists are developing new methods for observing planet formation. As a result of this development, the stages of planet formation were observed.
One of the topics that astronomers are interested in is the formation of planets. Unraveling this process is believed to help to better understand it. One of the structures the study focuses on is the developing baby planet.
Thanks to a new method that scientists have developed, small planets hidden in the protoplanetary disk can be revealed. While this type of research is used in recent research, the opportunity to witness the birth of a planet arises.
At first everything was really a cloud of gas and dust.
As if to prove the truth of the phrase “Everything is a cloud of gas and dust”, which we have heard very often before, scientists are trying to uncover the baby planet by examining condensed clouds of gas and dust that orbit in a certain orbit . This forming structure is called the protoplanetary disk. Thanks to a new method developed by astronomers from the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a baby planet thought to be about the same size as Saturn or Neptune in the Solar System has been revealed. The findings were also published Sept. 14 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
After this discovery, researcher Feng Long and his team, who began researching the disk named LkCa 15 which is 518 light-years away, started their work by collecting data obtained about the disk since 2019. In subsequent studies, changes in this gas and dust cloud were observed. The mass of matter and the spring structure move at an angle of 120 degrees to each other.
It may have been born as much as 1 to 3 million years ago!
Scientists have revealed that such angles do not occur spontaneously, and that the material that makes up the disk also has certain cycles in the gravitational field created by its stars and planets. Mathematical modeling studies also revealed that there must be a 60 degree angle between the clustered material and the resulting arc. This measure is currently the dimensions of Saturn or Neptune. Its age is estimated to be between 1-3 million years. So if we think about it on a cosmic scale, we can even call it a nascent planet.
Achieving an image of a newly formed planet is unlikely any time soon due to technological limitations, but such a method seems likely to make it possible to observe new baby planets in the future. Researchers also hope so.