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Before, the birth of a new planet was captured indirectly. The glow of nearby stars is usually so powerful that no telescope could detect them.
But this is already a problem of the past. “After more than a decade of enormous efforts to build this high-tech machine, SPHERE allows us to reap new fruits with the discovery of baby planets,” announced Thomas Henning, director of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, on the European Southern website. Observatory.
SPHERE is the acronym in English of “Instrument of search of exoplanets of high contrast spectropolarimetric”, a device that blocks the central region of the stars to reduce the amount of light emanating and to be able to see in detail the objects that surround it.
“Have you ever tried to block sunlight with your thumb? If you have, then you probably noticed a blinding ring of light around your shaded finger,” explains the European Southern Observatory.
It is for this reason that a black dot appears in the center of the photograph.
There, scientists blocked the light of the star in question, known as PDS 70, a dwarf star less than ten million years old.
Around, you can see the disk of gas and dust that surrounds it, and a yellow dot to the right of the black point, which corresponds to the new planet , which was given the name of PDS 70b.
The researchers also found that the planet is as far from its star as Uranus from the Sun in our solar system, at 3 billion kilometers.
In addition, a year within this planet corresponds to 118 terrestrial years. That is, that is the time it takes PDS 70b to go around PDS 70 .
It is believed that the outer temperature of this planet exceeds 1,000 degrees centigrade , much more than any of the planets in our solar system.
How are the planets born?
The most accepted theory is that planets are created from the material that remains when a star is formed. Composed mostly of gas and dust, the new planet orbits around the star on a wide disk.
Over time, pieces of those remains collide and, the larger they become, the more gravity they have and the more extra debris they attract, including other planets in the process of formation.
Scientists only have our own solar system as an example to build this theory. Therefore, being able to visualize planets such as the PDS 70b in the early stages of its development will help astronomers to understand this process further.