The European Southern Observatory (VLT) Very Large Telescope captured the first image of a young sun-like star accompanied by two giant outer planets, on a quest to find strange life.
Images of systems with multiple exoplanets are extremely rare, and until now, astronomers have never observed more than one planet orbiting a star similar directly to the sun.
7/ The two planets can be seen in the new image as two bright points of light distant from their parent star, which is located in the upper left of the frame. Credit: @THAT / Bohn et al. pic.twitter.com/rQcdrF9DSB
– ESO (@ESO) July 22, 2020
Recent observations could help astronomers understand the formation and evolution of planets around our sun.
And just a few weeks ago, the Southern European Observatory revealed the birth of a planetary system in a new and amazing image of the VLT.
Using a device of the same name, the telescope captured the first direct image of a planetary system around a star like our sun, which is 300 light-years away and known as TYC 8998-760-1.
Alexander Bohn, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who led the new research, revealed how important the image was.
He said in a statement to the British newspaper “Express”: “This discovery is a snapshot of an environment very similar to our solar system, but at a very early stage in its development.”
He added: “We found two giant planets orbiting a star similar to the sun in very large breaks, even bigger than the farthest planets in our solar system.”
The lead researcher believes that discovering the “interesting system” can revolutionize our understanding of how the solar system has evolved like ours.
He said: “So far, only a few dozen exoplanets have been imaged directly, and only two other systems that comprise multiple planets, both orbiting stars that are completely different from our Sun. This is the first time that we have photographed two planets around a star much like Our sun. ”
He explained: “We found that it contains exactly one solar mass, but it is not a direct copy of our star. It is much smaller than the sun in our solar system, as it is only 17 million years old, compared to our 4.6 billion years old sun.”
“We have now found an intriguing system, because the orbital distance is very far apart. This new system raises interesting questions, especially how these bodies are formed.”
The orbital distance discovered by the team is really interesting, because one model of planetary system formation presupposes that giant planets form at a distance before migrating inward toward their host star.
Ben pointed out that there is a different mechanism that produced these planets and placed them in a far orbital distance and formed directly there, or that the planets formed within common orbits in the solar system and migrated outward, driven either by scattering (a change in the direction of the motion of the particle due to its collision with another particle) or effects Other.
“Although astronomers have indirectly discovered thousands of planets in our galaxy, only a small portion of these exoplanets has been photographed directly,” said Matthew Kenworthy, associate professor at the University of Leiden and co-author of the research.
He added: “Direct observations are important in looking for environments that can support life.”
“Our team has now been able to capture the first image of two giant gas comrades revolving around a young counterpart of our sun,” said Maddalena Regiani, a postdoctoral researcher from KU Leuven University, Belgium, who also took part in the study.
The planets can be seen in the new image as two bright spots distant from their original star.
By taking various pictures at different times, the team was able to distinguish these planets from the stars of the background.