NASA Hubble Provides Glimpse Of Jupiter-sized Planet Still In Formation, Feeding On Star

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the rare breathtaking glimpse of a still-forming Jupiter-sized planet engulfing material surrounding a young star on Friday. The exoplanet dubbed PDS 70b is located 370 light years from Earth in the constellation Centauri and revolves around the orange dwarf star PDS 70. According to the NASA statement, the tiny exoplanet has two planets in active formation at inside a huge disk of dust and gas circling the star.

[The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope caught the first clear image of a forming planet, PDS 70b, around a dwarf star. Credits: ESO, VLT, André B. Müller/ESO]

“Using Hubble’s ultraviolet (UV) sensitivity, the researchers obtained a unique look at the radiation from extremely hot gases falling on the planet, allowing them to directly measure the mass growth rate of the planet for the first time. times, ”a statement from Hubble said. He added that the planet PDS 70b is surrounded by its own disk of gas and dust that siphons material from the much larger circumstellar disk.

Scientists have observed that magnetic field lines extend from the planet’s circumplanetary disk to the exoplanet’s atmosphere and carry material to the planet’s surface. The PDS 70b sucks material from the young star and builds mass over millions of years. Using Hubble’s unique ultraviolet sensitivities, researchers were able to measure for the first time the rate of mass growth of PDS 70b that began to form about 5 million years ago.

“Thirty-one years after launch, we’re still finding new ways to use Hubble,” Bowler added. “Yifan’s observation strategy and post-processing technique will open new windows to study similar systems, if not the same system, over and over with Hubble. With future observations, we could potentially find out when the majority of gas and dust falls on their planets, and if it’s happening at a constant rate.

[Hubble observations pinpoint planet PDS 70b. Credit: NASA]

[This illustration of the newly forming exoplanet PDS 70b shows how material may be falling onto the giant world as it builds up mass. Credit: NASA]

“ Overview ” of the formation of the gas giant planets

The still-forming Jupiter-sized planet orbiting the orange dwarf star has accumulated five times the mass of the largest planet in the solar system. “This system is so exciting because we can witness the formation of a planet,” Yifan Zhou of the University of Texas at Austin said in a statement, “This is the youngest authentic planet Hubble has ever imagined. directly, ”he added. “The Hubble observations have allowed us to estimate how quickly the planet is gaining mass,” Zhou continued.

According to NASA, the exoplanet’s current measured accretion rate has declined to the point where, if the rate remained stable for another million years, the planet would only increase by about 1 / 100th of Jupiter’s mass. . “Our measurements suggest that the planet is at the end of its formation process,” said scientists Zhou and Bowler. Observing the formation of PDS 70b gives scientists a glimpse of how giant gas planets formed around the Sun 4.6 billion years ago.


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