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Protoplanet near the star HD100546

Protoplanet around the star HD100546

 Automatic translation  Automatic translation Updated June 01, 2013

For the first time an exoplanet undergoing its formation still buried in its thick disk of gas and dust may have been dislodged by the VLT (Very Large Telescope). An international team led by Sascha Quanz (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) studied the disk of gas and dust surrounding the young star HD100546, one of the stars located relatively close to 335 light-years. This planet is a gas giant potential similar to Jupiter.
"Until now, the planetary formation has largely been a subject studied by computer simulations," says Sascha Quanz. "If our finding is truly a planet formation, then, for the first time, scientists will be able to study the process of planetary formation and interactions of a planet in formation with its native environment at a very early stage empirical.".
HD 100546 is a young star in the southern constellation of the Fly. The planet around HD100546 potential was detected as a weak spot located in the circumstellar disk with the NACO adaptive optics instrument on ESO's VLT, combined with a technique for analyzing innovative data. The observations were realized with the NACO coronagraph operating in the near infrared and eliminates the bright light of the star to the location of the protoplanet potential (see image opposite). Evidence indicates that the vicinity of the protoplanet are potentially warmed by the training process.
"The search for exoplanets is one of the frontiers of astronomy among the most exciting. Achieve direct images of planets is still a new field that benefits greatly from recent improvements in instruments and methods of data analysis. For this research, we used data analysis techniques developed for cosmological research, which shows that the intersection of ideas between different research fields can lead to extraordinary progress." Adam Amara, a member of the team. Although the protoplanet is the most likely explanation, it is possible that the detected signal comes from a background source or even the new detected object is not a protoplanet, but a planet already completely formed, ejected from its original orbit close to the star. This candidate protoplanet orbiting its star at about 10 billion km. This distance is comparable to the distance of the orbits of dwarf planets of the Solar System as Eris and Makemake outside. But this location is consistent with current theories of planetary formation.


To observe the exoplanet, the team used a special element called phase mask apodizer increasing the contrast of the image close to the star. Since 1995, the discovery of the first exoplanet, hundreds of planetary systems have been discovered for the study of planetary formation. No protoplanet has not yet been seen in the training process, swimming in its disk of metter. This research was presented in a paper entitled "A Young Protoplanet Candidate Embedded in the Circumstellar disc of HD100546", by S. P. Quanz et al., Published online in the February 28 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The team consists of Sascha P. Quanz (ETH Zurich, Switzerland), Adam Amara (ETH), Michael R. Meyer (ETH), Matthew A. Kenworthy (Sterrewacht Leiden, The Netherlands), Markus Kasper (ESO, Garching, Germany) and Julien H. Girard (ESO, Santiago, Chile).

NB: The circumstellar habitable zone or ecosphere is a theoretical sphere surrounding a star where the temperature on the surface of planets in orbit, would permit apparition of liquid water. Scientists believe that liquid water is vital because of its role in biochemical reactions. It should not be to determine the habitability of a planet, put all the conditions that met our Earth, otherwise none other planet in the Universe could support life, each planet is unique. Only condition to have liquid water, is necessary, it is considered an essential element in a healthy ecosystem because it helps enormously transport materials for biochemical activity. Water is a perfect element to dissolve materials and stores very well the chemical elements. Life may be present outside the habitable zones, it is enough that liquid water, a source of energy and chemicals substances whose life need to build its materials.

Paranal, VLT (Very Large Telescope)

 Protoplanet around the star HD100546

Image: This image taken with the NACO system installed on the ESO VLT shows a candidate protoplanet in the disk of gas and dust around the young star HD100546. This image was taken with a special coronagraph that suppresses the light of the brilliant star and permit to observe a very detailed way, the region of the protoplanet. The brightest part of the image is that of the candidate protoplanet and disc dark at the bottom of the image hides the very bright star. Credit: ESO

NB: ESO operates three observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the "Very Large Telescope", the astronomical observatory in the visibility of the world's most advanced telescopes and two dedicated to large surveys. VISTA largest telescope works for large surveys in the infrared. Survey Telescope (VST) is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is the European partner in ALMA, a revolutionary astronomical telescope. ALMA is the largest astronomical project in progress. ESO is currently carrying out a program European giant telescope (E-ELT for European Extremely Large Telescope) Class of 39 meters that observed in the visible and near infrared. The E-ELT will be "the biggest eyes in the world toward the sky."

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