A new study by astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics has found evidence of a new planet nearby. Planets consist of a protoplanetary disk, which is a band of gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star. Even though the universe contains hundreds of such discs, it is difficult to see the actual birth and evolution of planets in these places.
Astronomers have found a new way to find this elusive baby planet, along with evidence of small Neptune-like or Saturn-like planets hiding within the disk. Astrophysical Journal Letters today published a description of the findings, according to ANI.
According to Feng Long, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Astrophysics and project leader, “Direct discovery of minor planets is extremely difficult and has so far only been effective in one or two situations.” Because they are covered by large amounts of gas and dust, the planets are always too dark to see.
Instead, they had to look for signs that a planet was forming beneath the dust.
Long points out that in recent years, “a lot of structures have appeared on the disk that we think are caused by the existence of a planet, but could also be caused by something else.” “We needed new ways to examine and provide evidence for a planet.”
Long chose to visit the protoplanetary disk LkCa 15 for his research. This disk is located in the constellation Taurus, 518 light years away. Previous research using ALMA images showed evidence of planet formation in the disk.
Traced new high-resolution ALMA data on LkCa 15, mostly from 2019, and found two cryptic properties that weren’t there before.
Long discovered a dusty ring with two distinct and interesting clusters of matter orbiting within it at a distance of about 42 AU from the star, or 42 times the distance between Earth and the Sun. The material splits 120 degrees and appears as small lumps and larger arcs.
Computer simulations have long been used to analyze situations and determine material accumulation. He discovered that the size and position of objects corresponded to the existence of planets.
He explained, “This arc and the conglomerate are separated by about 120 degrees.” The degree of this inequality is mathematically significant; It didn’t happen.
The results show that the planet is between one and three million years old and about the size of Neptune or Saturn.