October 6, 2022


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Astronomers suspected the birth of a planet that took a million years

Astronomers suspected the birth of a planet that took a million years

We already know more than 5,000 exoplanets. But astronomers have only seen their formation once. They have now succeeded again.

Subaru telescope In Hawaii, the Hubble Space Telescope lens was pointed at the star AB Aurigae In the constellation Wo┼║nica. In the protoplanetary nebula around the star, they found a trace of the planet. It is a gas giant nine times larger than Jupiter. If it is 4 times heavier than it and has 13 times its mass, then a thermonuclear reaction will begin inside it and it will become a star.

This is a surprise. The newly formed planet orbits a very young star. Astronomers estimate that it is only 2 million years old. There are about 4.6 billion of them in the Sun.

The dominant formation hypothesis for gas giants in astronomy is that they form as a result of the gradual agglomeration of dust in a protoplanetary disk. Over time, dust forms a rocky core (and in the case of gas giants, gas only accumulates around it).

The newly discovered planet (named after AB Aurigae B) is nine times larger than Jupiter. It orbits around its parent star twice as far as Pluto orbits the sun. The problem is that this is far from the star, impossible or it would take an unusually long time for a planet to form from colliding debris. However, astronomers have a different explanation for how the newly discovered planet formed.

A less popular hypothesis is that planets are forming faster. As the disk of dust and gases cools, their volume decreases. The cloud breaks into smaller pieces with the mass of the planets. These, in turn, collapse under the influence of their own gravity.

The last explanation allows you to understand how such a giant AB Aurigae Bit could have formed in two million years was its parent star.

Even more interesting, the new discovery of geologists suggests that the Earth also formed faster – in just 1-2, and not 100 million years. Perhaps the old premise that it takes longer to develop is simply incorrect.

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