Scientists capture first ever image of newborn planet


So - and bear with me here - the young planet, which has been given the catchy title PDS 70b, was captured tearing out of the planet forming materials that were swirling around it. The team's results will appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Astronomers on Monday confirmed they've taken the first picture of a newborn planet. The surface temperature is now a steamy 1000 degrees Celsius (1832 degrees F).

SPHERE uses multi-wavelength observations, a coronagraph and a technique called high-contrast imaging to filter out the signal of faint exoplanets circling bright stars.

"The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc".

"We needed to observe a planet in a young star's disc to really understand the processes behind planet formation", Müller added in the statement.

"These discs around young stars are the birthplaces of planets, but so far only a handful of observations have detected hints of baby planets in them", said Dr Miriam Keppler.

This latest cornograph (an image that blocks the light of a star to make its surroundings visible) depicts the new planet clearly as a bright blob beside the black star.

The global team of researchers made the robust detection of the young planet, named PDS 70b, cleaving a path through the planet-forming material surrounding a young star.

The image was produced by an advanced piece of equipment within the Very Large Telescope array at the European Southern Observatory's facility in northern Chile.

The star, PDS 70, is about 82% as massive as the sun and 370 light-years from Earth. We're way, way past the adorable infant stage for our planet. So if you dropped PDS 70b into our own solar system, the world would orbit somewhere between Uranus and Neptune.

Welcome to the universe, PDS 70b. Data compiled by SPHERE also allowed the researchers to deduce that the planet's atmosphere is cloudy. If it were any larger, it'd be considered a type of failed star called a brown dwarf.

"This discovery provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to test theoretical models of planet formation", said André Müller, a member of the research team. "That is the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream".



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