Birth of a Planet Spotted for First Time by Scientists

With Very Large Telescope, astronomers spy a planet being born around a young star

Astronomers say they have captured the first confirmed image of a planet forming in the dust swirling around a young star.

The image was captured by SPHERE, a planet-hunting instrument attached to the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile's Atacama Desert.

"These discs around young stars are the birthplaces of planets, but so far only a handful of observations have detected hints of baby planets in them", said Miriam Keppler, who led the discovery of the planet-in-making. The surface of the planet has a temperature of about 1000 ° C and the study of its spectrum reveals the presence of a turbid atmosphere encircling it. That's depending on the name of the star in its orbit, PDS 70.

This finding confirms the hypothetical model of planetary construction and will help scientists to understand the birth of planets very well.

This spectacular image from the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope is the first clear image of a planet caught in the very act of formation around the dwarf star PDS 70. The scientists employed a coronagraph so as to obstruct the blazing star's light to watch the planet and the disc.

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Other images have shown planetlike features in the disks around their host stars, but it was always hard to tell for sure that the features represented actual planets.

The scientists hope the discovery will lend more clues into how planets, including our own, are formed. Algorithms were then used to remove the bright light of PDS 70, which is about 5,000 times brighter than PDS 70b and which otherwise would have overwhelmed the light from the planet.

"After more than a decade of enormous efforts to build this high-tech machine, now SPHERE enables us to reap the harvest with the discovery of baby planets!" More studies are going on for analysing the circular disc around the baby planet.

André Müller, also with the Max Planck institute and leader of the second team, said in a statement that "Keppler's results give us a new window onto the complex and poorly-understood early stages of planetary evolution". The planet was multiple times of Jupiter's mass and the temperature recorded was highest than any other planet in the solar system and cloudy atmosphere surrounding it was also found. For a long time, astronomers suspected that such holes are caused by the interaction between the disk and a planet in formation.

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