Clear shots of planet birth in a cloud around a distant star

(ORDO NEWS) — The orange dwarf PDS 70 is located in the constellation Centaurus, approximately 370 light years from Earth. This is an exceptionally young star, whose age is estimated at about 10 million years, and it is surrounded by a protoplanetary disk, in which the growth of future planets continues.

Astronomers are observing the PDS 70 system with great interest, and the VLT telescope of the South European Observatory (ESO) has already received direct images of the gas giants PDS 70b and PDS 70c forming in it .

Fresh observations of the PDS 70 system were carried out using a new vortex coronagraph and an infrared camera mounted on the Keck II telescope at the WM Keck Hawaiian Observatory.

The coronagraph helps to see distant and dim objects that are close to bright ones, and made it possible to better see newborn planets against the general background of the PDS 70 gas and dust disk. An article by Jason Wang and his colleagues was published in The Astronomical Journal.

“When these protoplanets were first shot, there was some doubt,” Wang explained in an interview with the observatory’s press service. – Embryos of planets are formed from gas and dust around the star.

This substance accretes onto the protoplanet, forming around something like a smokescreen, because of which it can be difficult to distinguish in the image against the background of the disk. ” The upgraded Keck II telescope allowed us to carry out such work and clearly distinguish between PDS 70b and PDS 70c in the system image.

“We know that the disk should look like a symmetrical ring around the star, and the planet should look like a point on it,” adds Jason Van. “So, even if it seems that the planet is sitting on top of this disk, as can be seen in the PDS 70c, we can still predict what it should look like in its vicinity and take this signal into account.”

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