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Astronomers find Evidence for 2 Newborn Planets, orbiting around a Young Star known as HD 163296

HD 163296 is roughly five million years old and about twice the mass of the Sun

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New York, December 13, 2016: Astronomers believe they have found compelling evidence for two newborn planets, each about the size of Saturn, orbiting around a young star known as HD 163296.

These planets, which are not yet fully formed, revealed themselves by the dual imprint they left in both the dust and the gas portions of the star’s protoplanetary disk, the researchers said.

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In studying HD 163296, the research team used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to trace, for the first time, the distribution of both the dust and the carbon monoxide (CO) gas components of the disk at roughly the same level of detail.

“Our new observations provide intriguing evidence that planets are indeed forming around this one young star,” said study lead author Andrea Isella, astronomer at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US.

HD 163296 is roughly five million years old and about twice the mass of the Sun. It is located approximately 400 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.

The researchers found three distinct gaps in the star’s dust-filled protoplanetary disk.

Using ALMA’s ability to detect the faint millimeter-wavelength “glow” emitted by gas molecules, Isella and his team discovered that there was also an appreciable dip in the amount of carbon monoxide in the outer two dust gaps.

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By seeing the same features in both the gas and the dust components of the disk, the astronomers believe they have found compelling evidence that there are two planets coalescing remarkably far from the central star.

The width and depth of the two carbon monoxide gaps suggest that each potential planet is roughly the same mass as Saturn, the astronomers said in a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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In the gap nearest to the star, the team found little to no difference in the concentration of CO gas compared to the surrounding dusty disk.

This means that the innermost gap could have been produced by something other than an emerging planet, the study said. (IANS)

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Astronomers Discover New Planet Not Orbiting Any Star

The planet is thought to be 200 million years old and is 20 light-years from Earth

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This April 3, 2017 image made available by NASA shows the planet Jupiter. A newly discovered planet outside our solar system is 12 times the size of Jupiter. (VOA)

Astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is 12 times the size of Jupiter, striking not only for its size but also for the fact that it is not orbiting any star.

The so-called “rogue” planet does not revolve around a star, but instead rotates around the galactic center in interstellar space.

Astronomers say there have been only a few rogue planets discovered to date. They say even though finding such celestial objects are rare, there could be large amounts of such planets in the universe that have yet to be discovered.

The so-called "rogue" planet does not revolve around a star, but instead rotates around the galactic center in interstellar space.
The so-called “rogue” planet does not revolve around a star, but instead rotates around the galactic center in interstellar space. Pixabay

The recently discovered planetary mass was originally found in 2016 but was mistaken for a brown dwarf planet. According to new research published in the Astrophysical Journal, the object is now thought to be a planet in its own right, with an usually strong magnetic field.

Also Read: NASA Spacecraft Sends Back Close-Ups of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Astronomers say the magnetic field of the new planet, named SIMP J01365663+0933473, is more than 200 times stronger than Jupiter’s. They say its strong magnetic field likely led to its being detected by a large radio-telescope in New Mexico known as the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA).

The planet is thought to be 200 million years old and is 20 light-years from Earth. (VOA)