A new planet is being formed out there in the galaxy BUZZ Fam, and I gotta say it couldn’t be a more convenient time. Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born around a distant star, and according to them , it looks like a twist!
A team from PSL University, France, discovered a dense disc of dust and gas surrounding the star AB Aurigae, around 520 light years away from Earth.
Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a ‘twist’ near the centre.
The team say this ‘twist’ is likely caused by gas and dust coming together as a new world begins to form – the first time the process has been directly imaged.
The swirling disc is one of the telltale signs of the star system, surround the young, newly formed star, being born and it is in in the constellation of Auriga.
Dr Anthony Boccaletti, who led the study from the Observatoire de Paris said we’ve spotted thousands of exoplanets ‘but little is known about how they form’.
‘We need to observe very young systems to really capture the moment planets form.’
Until now astronomers had been unable to take clear images of young discs to see these twists – so this is a significant breakthrough in terms of planetary science.
The team used VLT’s Sphere instrument to take photos of AB Aurigae – showing ‘a stunning spiral of dust’ caused by the baby planet trying to ‘kick’ the gas.