ALMA is a powerful astronomical observation system located in the Atacama death desert of Chile. A team of scientists from the University of Florida – USA used the astronomical dataset it collected to detect a new world about 395 light-years away.
According to SciTech Daily, towards the constellation Ophiuchus, ALMA recorded a mysterious bright spot emanating from the void around the star. Looking closely at the bright spot, the scientists realized it must be a planet.
The star still has a protoplanetary disk – purple rings of gas and dust – AS 209 – Photo: ALMA
The parent star AS 209 is only 1.6 million years old, which is just near the age that can give birth to a planet. As such, this mysterious planet may be the youngest planet ever discovered in the galaxy containing the Earth’s Milky Way.
The new planet is so young that it isn’t really a planet yet, but just a rudimentary structure emerging in the parent star’s protoplanetary disk. The parent star AS 209 is also one of only three rare stars ever discovered in the protoplanetary disk, and it is the youngest.
In other words, this spectacular moment provides a “window of time” for astronomers to discover how a young star system began to give birth to its planets, as well as the Solar System billions of years. ago.
It will also provide “once-in-a-lifetime” data on how a planet – like the one we live above – came into being.
“The best way to study planet formation is to observe planets as they are forming,” concludes Professor Jaehan Bae, lead author of the study.
The study has just been published in the scientific journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.