Planet birth in AB Aurigae

by | May 21, 2020 | Daily Space, Exoplanets | 0 comments

Planet birth in AB Aurigae
IMAGE: This image shows the inner region of the disc around the young AB Aurigae star, where ESO’s Very Large Telescope has spotted signs of planet birth. The ‘twist’ (in very bright yellow) marks the spot where a planet may be forming. This twist lies at about the same distance from the AB Aurigae star as Neptune from the Sun. The image was obtained with the VLT’s SPHERE instrument in polarised light. CREDIT: ESO/Boccaletti et al.

Today, we have news from the Very Large Telescope about AB Aurigae, a young variable star 520 light-years away. When observed in the infrared, a spiral in the disk of gas and dust in this system indicates the presence of a forming planet at a Neptune-like distance from the star. This multiple-instruments finding multiple ways to find planets at different stages in their formation is going to allow us to build a complete understanding of planet formation… eventually. These are early days, with each new world getting a shiny new press release to announce its imaging. It’s only after this becomes a normal thing to image that we’ll begin to have enough data to really understand what’s going on.

More Information

ESO photo release 

Are We Witnessing Ongoing Planet Formation in AB Aurigae? A Showcase of the SPHERE/ALMA Synergy“, A. Boccaletti et al., 2020 May 20, Astronomy & Astrophysics (Preprint from ESO)

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