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The formation of planets around stars better documented

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar6,2024

The formation of planets around

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Composite image showing the planet-forming disk MWC 758, located about 500 light years in the Taurus region.

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A new look at the formation of planets in different regions of the Milky Way is made possible following the detailed observation of the neighborhood of 86 young stars in the galaxy carried out with the Very Large Telescope (TGT) of the Observatory European South (ESO) installed in Chile.

In a series of three studies published in the journal Astronomy &amp ; Astrophysics(New window) (in English), astrophysicists from around ten countries paint the most precise portrait to date of planet formation disks around stars in three regions of our galaxy, located between 600 and 1600 light years from Earth.

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Selection of images showing disks from the regions of our galaxy observed in the studies.

These regions (the clouds of Orion, Chamaeleon I and Taurus) are known to be the birthplace of several stars more massive than the Sun.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">This is a real game-changer in our field of study, said astronomer Christian Ginski of the University of Galway, Ireland, lead author of one, in a statement. of these studies.

We have moved from the intensive study of systems individual stars to this vast overview of entire star-forming regions.

A quote from Christian Ginski, University of Galway

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The new images provide scientists with a treasure trove of data that will certainly help them unravel the mysteries of the formation of planets, explains the press release.

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Planet-forming disks around young stars and their location in the gas-rich Orion Cloud, about 1600 years ago light of the Earth.

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Artistic illustration showing a nascent star surrounded by a disk in which planets are forming.

Exoplanets often originate in systems that are very different from the solar system. More precisely, they are born in the disks rich in dust and gas which envelop young stars.

These disks of matter are themselves found in d& #x27;huge clouds of gas where the stars themselves are forming in real stellar nurseries.

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The new images obtained show the great diversity of disks forming around these young stars. In fact, they are surprisingly as diverse as in mature planetary systems.

Some of these discs feature immense spiral arms, probably animated by the complex ballet of the orbiting planets.

A quote from Christian Ginski, University of Galway

Astronomer Antonio Garufi of the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics, lead author of one of the studies, adds that other [discs] show rings and large cavities carved out by planets forming, while still others appear smooth and almost asleep amid all this activity.

These images provide researchers with a veritable treasure trove of data which will be used in the coming years to elucidate certain mysteries surrounding the formation of planets.

In the cloud of Orion, scientists found that stars grouped in pairs or more were less likely to see large disks of planets form.

This is an important observation since, unlike our Sun, most stars in the galaxy have companions. Additionally, the irregular appearance of the disks in Orion suggests that there are massive planets inside these disks, which could cause them to become distorted and misaligned.

In the coming years, these planet-forming systems will be scrutinized with new instruments, including the ESO European Giant Telescope, which is due to come into operation by 2027. Its large 39-meter mirror will allow astrophysicists to ;study more deeply the regions around young stars, where rocky planets like Earth may be forming.

It is almost poetic that the processes that mark the beginning of the journey to the formation of planets and ultimately life in our own solar system are so beautiful, points out Per-Gunnar Valegård of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, who led one of the studies.

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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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