NASA: TESS, Spitzer Discover a World Orbiting a Unique Young Star

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NASA: TESS, Spitzer Discover a World Orbiting a Unique Young Star

Post by bystander » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:39 pm

TESS, Spitzer Discover a World Orbiting a Unique Young Star
NASA | GSFC | JPL-Caltech | Spitzer | TESS | 2020 Jun 24
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope
have found a young Neptune-size world orbiting AU Microscopii, a cool, nearby M-type
dwarf star surrounded by a vast disk of debris. The discovery makes the system a
touchstone for understanding how stars and planets form and evolve.
Credits: NASA/GSFC/SVS/Chris Smith (USRA)

For more than a decade, astronomers have searched for planets orbiting AU Microscopii, a nearby star still surrounded by a disk of debris left over from its formation. Now scientists using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and retired Spitzer Space Telescope report the discovery of a planet about as large as Neptune that circles the young star in just over a week.

The system, known as AU Mic for short, provides a one-of-a-kind laboratory for studying how planets and their atmospheres form, evolve and interact with their stars.

“AU Mic is a young, nearby M dwarf star. It’s surrounded by a vast debris disk in which moving clumps of dust have been tracked, and now, thanks to TESS and Spitzer, it has a planet with a direct size measurement,” said Bryson Cale ... “There is no other known system that checks all of these important boxes.” ...

AU Mic is a cool red dwarf star with an age estimated at 20 million to 30 million years, making it a stellar infant compared to our Sun, which is at least 150 times older. The star is so young that it primarily shines from the heat generated as its own gravity pulls it inward and compresses it. Less than 10% of the star's energy comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core, the process that powers stars like our Sun. ...

Newly Discovered Planet Zips around Baby Star in a Week
University of California, Riverside | 2020 Jun 24

A Planet within the Debris Disk around the Pre-Main-Sequence Star AU Microscopii ~ Peter Plavchan et al
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