(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have found the most likely explanation for the nature of the object, casting a giant bizarre shadow on the cloud located behind it.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured a strange shadow in the form of a bat flapping its wings on a cloud of matter located behind an object invisible to the Earth. Astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, led by Klaus Pontoppidan, believe that the shadow-forming object is a gas-dust disk around the young star HBC 672. Scientists reported in The Astrophysical Journal.
“Bat wings” was observed for 404 days. To form such a shadow, the disk of matter around the star should not be flat, but curved and cover the star, as a lampshade covers a light bulb. In this case, the light can freely propagate up and down, and in the lateral directions it blocks the substance of the disk. So on objects located farther from the Earth than the star itself, a bizarre shadow forms.
The disk, according to scientists, may take the form of a saddle with two highs and two lows, which explains the “flapping of the wings of a bat.” A disk could take this form if a young planet is present in it and the gravitational field deforms an initially flat disk.
An alternative explanation for shadow movement is a smaller mass companion star orbiting the HBC 672 outside the disk. Pontoppidan and his team doubt it, based on the thickness of the disk, estimated by the size of the shadow.
The gas-dust disk around the star is about 200 times larger than the solar system. Light cannot travel such distances instantly. The time required for the passage of light from the star to the edge of the shadow is from 40 to 45 days.
Calculations showed that the period of revolution of a potential exoplanet should be more than 180 days. The distance from the star to the planet is approximately the same as the distance from the Sun to the Earth.
Star HBC 672 is located in the Serpent Nebula, at a distance of about 1,400 light-years from the Sun. This is a very young, by cosmic standards, region of the universe. She is only 1–2 million years old.
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