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Radiation from massive stars shapes planetary systems

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar1,2024

The radiation of massive stars sculpts the planetary systems

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Hubble image of the Orion Nebula, and zoom with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on the planetary protosystem d203-506.

Agence France-Presse

Massive stars can “evaporate” the material needed to form giant planets like Jupiter, according to the first observation of the phenomenon reported in a study published in the journal Science (New window) (in English).

An international team of astronomers led by French researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) observed the nascent planetary system d203-506 to confirm this predicted by theoretical models.

Located on the fringe of the Orion Nebula, this small, very young system theoretically has everything to produce at least one gas giant like Jupiter or Saturn, that is to say a planet made up essentially of planets. hydrogen and helium.

The modest star that shelters d203-506 at its center is surrounded by a protoplanetary disk, in #x27;occurrence of a gas cloud theoretically serving as raw material for the formation of a gaseous planet.

But to its misfortune, the small system is subjected to very powerful ultraviolet radiation coming from massive and very close stars, in the Trapezium cluster. Stars approximately 10 times more massive than the Sun and above all 100,000 times more luminous, according to a CNRS press release.

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Their radiation heats the gas cloud in a phenomenon known as photo-evaporation. It brings the hydrogen molecules in this cloud to temperatures such that they begin to circulate at a sufficient speed to escape the attraction of the star. Before dissipating at a good distance in interstellar space.

The consequence of this irradiation is sufficient to remove the gas from the (protoplanetary) disk in less than a million years, according to the study. And therefore fast enough to affect the formation of giant planets in the disk, she concludes.

Observation of the phenomenon was made possible by combining data from the James Webb Space Telescope and the terrestrial ALMA radio telescope.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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