This is the first photo of a planet being born

The planet known as PDS 70b was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile and its planet-finding instrument SPHERE

The planet known as PDS 70b was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile and its planet-finding instrument SPHERE

Like life on earth, the planets orbiting other stars throughout the universe are incredibly diverse. But it has never been seen before - until now.

PDS 70 is a youngster itself, a 4.5-million-year-old T Tauri star surrounded by a circumstellar disc of gas and dust about 130 astronomical units across, or about 19 billion kilometres (12 billion miles).

The images that the team captured show the planet as a bright point beside the black filter covering the star at the centre of the image.

Capturing a planet's birth is exceptionally hard because it's often too far away to see on a telescope.

According to ESO, the observations - captured by SPHERE, VLT's planet-hunting instrument - included the "first confirmed image of a planet caught in the act of forming in the dusty disc surrounding a young 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.

Thousands pro-democracy demonstrators march in Hong Kong
A University of Hong Kong survey of 1,000 people put her approval rating at 54.3 points, down from 61.1 points a year ago. Pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao called for the march to be outlawed in an editorial last month.

Researchers led by a team at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Astronomy found that the planet orbits about as far from its star as Uranus does from the Sun. Two sets of researchers, published in two different papers in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on Monday, detailed how a planet is formed. The instrument was able to spot a large mass of material - referred to as an accretion disk - surrounding a nearby star.

'The problem is that until now, most of these planet candidates could just have been features in the disc'. The planet is much hotter than anything in our solar system, too, with a surface temperature of around 1,000 degrees Celsius. Without the mask, the light from planet would be overhwhelmed by PDS 70. Now we can see the planet for the first time.

Keppler's team was also able to measure the brightness of the young planet and to estimate more about its physical characteristics. But even using a coronagraph, a variety of imaging and data processing techniques are required to detect the signal from a relatively faint planetary companion.

Once they'd sifted out the starlight, scientists probed the mysterious baby planet.

"Keppler's results give us a new window onto the complex and poorly understood early stages of planetary evolution", André Müller, who led a second team studying the new planet, said in a statement. "We needed to observe a planet in a young star's disc to really understand the processes behind planet formation".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.