Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New and improved way to find baby planets

14.06.2018

Finding could elucidate the process by which our own solar system came into existence.

New work from an international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Jaehan Bae used archival radio telescope data to develop a new method for finding very young extrasolar planets. Their technique successfully confirmed the existence of two previously predicted Jupiter-mass planets around the star HD 163296. Their work is published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.


An artist's impression of protoplanets forming around a young star.

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF; S. Dagnello

Of the thousands of exoplanets discovered by astronomers, only a handful are in their formative years. Finding more baby planets will help astronomers answer the many outstanding questions about planet formation, including the process by which our own Solar System came into existence.

Young stars are surrounded by rotating disks of gas and dust from which planets are formed. The 60 radio telescope antennae of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, have been able to image these disks with never-before-seen clarity.

The research team--including lead author Richard Teague and co-author Edwin Bergin of the University of Michigan, Tilman Birnstiel of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and Daniel Foreman-Mackey of the Flatiron Institute--used archival ALMA data to demonstrate that anomalies in the velocity of the gas in these rotating protoplanetary disks can be used to indicate the presence of giant planets.

Other techniques for finding baby planets in the disks surrounding young stars are based on observations of the emission coming from a disk's dust particles. But dust only accounts for one percent of a disk's mass, so the team decided to focus instead on the gas that comprises 99 percent of a young disk.

Their new technique focuses on the motion of the gas, probing radial pressure gradients in the gas to see the shape of the perturbations--like swirls and eddies in a rocky streambed--allowing astronomers to make a more-precise determination of the masses and locations of any planets embedded in the disk.

Their new method successfully confirmed the previously predicted existence of two Jupiter-mass planets around HD 163296. They orbit at distances of 83 and 137 times that between the Sun and the Earth, although their host star is much brighter than our own Sun.

"Although dust plays an important role in planet formation and provides us invaluable information, it is the gas that accounts for 99 percent of protoplanetary disks' mass. It is therefore crucial to study kinematics, or motion, of the gas to better understand what is happening in the disks we observe," explained Bae.

"This method will provide essential evidence to help interpret the high-resolution dust images coming from ALMA. Also, by detecting planets at this young stage we have the best opportunity yet to test how their atmospheres are formed and what molecules are delivered in this process," said lead author Teague.

###

This research was presented in Astrophysical Journal Letters. "A Kinematic Detection of Two Unseen Jupiter Mass Embedded Protoplanets", by R. Teague et al.

This research was supported by a grant from the NASA. Computing resources are provided by NASA High-End Computing Program through the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division at Ames Research Center.

ALMA is a partnership of European Southern Observatory (ESO) (representing its member states), National Science Foundation (USA), and National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan), together with National Research Council (Canada), National Science Council and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (Taiwan), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Korea), in cooperation with Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, Associated Universities, Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. T.B. acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 714769.

The Carnegie Institution for Science (carnegiescience.edu) is a private, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., with six research departments throughout the U.S. Since its founding in 1902, the Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.

Jaehan Bae | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte
17.08.2018 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

nachricht Protecting the power grid: Advanced plasma switch for more efficient transmission
17.08.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>