Somewhere in the vastness of the universe, there are definitely exomoons: satellites around the outer planets. However, detecting them is more difficult than detecting planets around distant stars. At most, there are indirect indications yet. For others, the final proof is still pending. Andrea Isella of Rice University in Houston and her team present a note in Astrophysical Journal Letters, which proves at least the basics needed to form the Moon.
With the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the working group was the first to discover a planetary disk made of gas and dust around a celestial body in PDS 70. It is 370 light-years away from us and has at least two large Jupiter-like planets. They were recorded with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), while ALMA detected weak radio waves emitted by dust.
These data and additional measurements from the VLT in the optical and infrared range provided ample evidence that at least around the system’s known exoplanet there is a disk of dust in which the outer probe could form. “For the first time we can say with great certainty that we have detected telltale signals from a disk around the planet. They support many current theories about planet formation,” Isella says. For the first time, it was also possible to see an exoplanet in three different wavebands. of light.
Unlike Saturn’s rings, which developed through the collision of comets and other small celestial bodies, the disks around the planets are a remnant of planetary formation. ALMA also noticed significant differences in two of the exoplanets in PDS 70. The interior of the two is as far from its star as Uranus from the Sun. He has a strong tail of dust that drags him behind him.
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