Image of a swirling, twisted cloud of dust and gas over 530 light years away may show the birth of a planet. The near-infrared images were obtained around the young star AB Aurigae. Astronomers believe it is how planets grow from tiny grains to giant globes. This is the first time such an image is obtained. Theoretically it is well documented but lacks evidence.
Experts believe that for planetary formation, a star needs to form, spooling a giant disc of dust and gas which feeds into it. Then the remaining disc starts clumping together to form other chunky bits found in planetary systems such as asteroids, comets, dwarf planets, and planets.
An international team of astronomers used the SPHERE facility attached to the Very Large Telescope in Chile. High-contrast observations of AB Aurigae were taken in near-infrared in December 2019 and January 2020. This resulted in the deepest images of the star. Though it is not fully confirmed the latest images and observations say AB Aurigae is a promising candidate to view planet formation. So with more powerful telescopes that are currently under construction we will be able to get a clear picture. As it is experts are expecting the process of formation of a giant planet.
The research was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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