First alien moons spotted: scientists believe they have trapped the little planet in the act of growing moons 370 light years away from Earth
- A picture of the ALMA observatory in Chile shows the never seen before phenomenon
- A circle of gas and dust, known as a circumplanetary disc, has formed around a growing planet
- It is believed that the disc has a similar structure to the one that gave birth to the many moons of Jupiter
- The photos were taken with the most powerful range of radio telescopes on the planet
A dusty circle around a planet about 370 light-years from the Earth could show the birth of a moon for the very first time.
Photos & # 39; s of the ALMA observatory in Chile shows a faint disk of dust around a large planet in the star system known as PDS 70.
Scientists say that the disc never seen before has a similar structure to the disc that produced the many moons of Jupiter.
This photo from the ALMA observatory in Chile can show the birth of a moon for the first time.
Recently scientists discovered two newborn and growing planets PDS 70c and PDS 70b orbiting the young star PDS 70.
But now they have found evidence for a dust-filled disk, known as a circumplanetary disk, around planet PDS 70c that could form multiple moons.
Astronomer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Andrea Isella told Science Daily: & # 39; Planets form gas and dust disks around newly-forming stars, and if a planet is large enough, it can form its own disk as the material collects in its orbit around the star.
& # 39; For example, Jupiter and its moons are a small planetary system within our solar system and it is believed that Jupiter's moons were formed from a circumplanetary disk when Jupiter was very young.
A faint disk of dust surrounds a large planet, possibly giving rise to a new moon, in an illustration of the PDS 70 star system.
& # 39; For the first time, we can convincingly see the significant signs of a circumplanetary disc, which helps to support many of the current theories about planet formation.
& # 39; By comparing our observations with high-resolution infrared and optical images, we can see that an otherwise enigmatic concentration of small dust particles is a planetary disk of dust, the first such trait ever to be convincingly observed. 39;
Using the huge 66 antenna, Andrea and his colleague & # 39; s millimeter wave radio signals gathered the dust grains in the star system with PDS 70.
The circumplanetary disc is trapped around the growing planet PDS 70c and may represent moons that grow
At first they thought it was just gas, but they soon realized that it was circumplanetary discs, the structure from which the moons grew.
Circumplanetary disks disappear within about 10 million years, indicating that the disks have not existed in our solar system for more than 4 billion years.
M. Isella added: & # 39; There is much that we don't understand about how planets form, and we now finally have the tools to make direct observations and start answering questions about how our solar system is shaped and how other planets may arise.
& # 39; We will be able to return to this system in different periods and more easily map the orbit of the planets and the concentration of dust in the system.
& # 39; This gives us unique insights into the orbital properties of solar systems at their very first developmental stages. & # 39;
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