The first photo of two exoplanets orbiting a young sun-like star 309 light-years from Earth was taken by astronomers with a ground-based telescope.
The very large telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile was used to take the picture of the two giant exoplanets orbiting a very young star.
Astronomers say that this image of two exoplanets orbiting a star is a snapshot of an environment that resembles our solar system – but earlier in its evolution.
According to researchers, the two gas giants are much larger and much further away from their host star than Jupiter or Saturn in the solar system.
The star is incredibly young at just 17 million years old and appears on Earth just 50 million years after the death of the dinosaurs – our sun is 4.6 billion years old.
By examining direct images of such a young planetary system at the beginning of its development, astronomers hope to get a better picture of how our solar system could have developed in the first million years.
The star was partially blocked by a ground-based instrument to make it easier for researchers to recognize the two planets – seen here as a white and orange dot. The other points are background stars, not planets
According to researchers, the two gas giants are much larger and much further away from their host star than Jupiter or Saturn in the solar system. The next one is 160 times farther than Earth from the Sun.
The planet closest to the star in this young system is 14 times as massive as Jupiter and orbited 160 times further from its star than Earth from the Sun.
The other planet is six times as massive as Jupiter and orbits 320 times more than Earth from the Sun.
This is the first direct image of a planetary system around a star like our sun and is called TYC 8998-760-1, according to astronomers.
Alexander Bohn, a PhD student at Leiden University in the Netherlands who led the new research, said only a tiny fraction of the exoplanets were imaged directly.
Observations will help scientists understand how the planets have formed around our own sun. Too hot to house life, they also help identify those who are most likely to house it.
The larger planet has an estimated surface temperature of around 1,400 degrees Celsius (2,600 degrees Fahrenheit) – and probably a heavily inflated atmosphere.
The planet closest to the star in this young system is 14 times as massive as Jupiter and orbited 160 times further from its star than Earth from the Sun. The other planet is six times as massive as Jupiter and orbits 320 times more than Earth from the Sun.
Matthew Kenworthy, associate professor at Leiden University, said: "Direct observations are important for finding environments that can support life."
So far, only two such systems could be seen directly – both around stars that differ significantly from our sun.
Through different images at different times, the researchers – including Dr. Steven Rieder of Exeter University – distinguish them from the background stars and show that they were clearly large planets.
They stumbled across the system when they were looking for young giant planets for stars using the telescope's SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-Contrast Exoplanet REsearch) instrument.
The instrument blocks the bright light of a star with a device called Coronagraph, so much weaker planets can be seen.
Older planets like the ones in the solar system are too cool for this technique to work. But young planets are hotter – and therefore shine brighter in infrared light.
By taking multiple images in the past year and using data from 2017, the researchers confirmed that the two planets are part of the star system.
Researchers had to use a special instrument to block the star's light so that surrounding planets could be more easily recognized and separated from background stars
The researchers used several images taken over a period of time to show the two planets moving around their host star
Further observations with the future ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will enable them to test whether they have formed at their current location or have migrated from another location in the system – which will help explain the planet formation.
It will also help investigate the interaction between two young planets in the same system, according to the team behind the discovery.
Bohn said that the ELT and other future technologies will be able to detect lower-mass planets around stars that resemble the sun.
He said this was "an important milestone in understanding multi-planetary systems that could have an impact on the history of our own solar system."
In May, the VLT discovered a baby planet that was born 520 light years away.
It was the first telescope to directly capture an exoplanet when it imaged a patch of light around a "failed" brown dwarf star.
The results were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
THE VERY LARGE TELESCOPE IS A HIGH-PERFORMANCE GROUND-BASED INSTRUMENT IN CHILE
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile.
It's called Very Large Telescope (VLT) and is widely regarded as one of the most advanced optical instruments ever made.
It consists of four telescopes, the The main mirrors have a diameter of 8.2 meters.
There are also four mobile auxiliary telescopes with a diameter of 1.8 meters.
The big telescopes are called Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun.
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) built the most powerful telescope ever made in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile and called it the Very Large Telescope (VLT).
The first unit telescope, & # 39; Antu & # 39;, was routinely used scientifically on April 1, 1999.
The telescopes can work together to form a giant "interferometer".
With this interferometer, images can be filtered for unnecessary opaque objects, so that astronomers can see details up to 25 times more precisely than with the individual telescopes.
It was involved in recognizing the first image of an extrasolar planet and tracking individual stars moving around the super-massive black hole in the center of the Milky Way.
It also observed the afterglow of the most well-known gamma-ray burst.
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