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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 Found Ancient Star Formed By Big Bang

This suggests that it could be as little as one generation removed from the beginning of the universe, the researchers noted

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Astronomers discover ancient star formed by Big Bang, pixabay

A team of astronomers have found what could be one of the universe’s oldest stars, almost entirely made of materials formed by the Big Bang.

Residing in the same part of the Milky Way galaxy as our own solar system, the star is believed to be up to 13.5 billion years old which is evidenced by its extremely low metal content, or metallicity, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to co-author Andrew Casey, it was previously believed that the first stars that formed in the universe could not possibly still exist today.

“The findings are significant because for the first time we have been able to show direct evidence that very ancient, low mass stars do exist, and could survive until the present day without destroying themselves,” Casey said.

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According to co-author Andrew Casey, it was previously believed that the first stars that formed in the universe could not possibly still exist today. VOA

The metallicity of stars increases as they are born and die, in a cycle which results in the creation of more and more heavy metals, with the Earth’s sun being around 100,000 generations down that line and holding a metal content roughly equal to 14 Jupiters.

Stars created at the beginning of the universe, however, would have consisted entirely of elements like hydrogen, helium and small amounts of lithium – meaning the extremely low metallicity of the newly discovered star, about the same as the planet Mercury.

This suggests that it could be as little as one generation removed from the beginning of the universe, the researchers noted.

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Up until around 1990, scientists believed that only massive stars could have formed in the early stages of the universe, and could never be observed because they burn through their fuel so quickly and die.

However, the new study has shown that it is possible for low mass stars to last as long as the 13 billion years since the Big Bang — Red Dwarf stars for instance, which have a fraction of the mass of the sun, are thought to live for trillions of years. (IANS)