ALMA: First Clear Detection of a Moon-Forming Disc around an Exoplanet

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ALMA: First Clear Detection of a Moon-Forming Disc around an Exoplanet

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:56 pm

First Clear Detection of a Moon-Forming Disc around an Exoplanet
ALMA | ESO | 2021 Jul 22

Using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, astronomers have unambiguously detected the presence of a disc around a planet outside our Solar System for the first time. The observations will shed new light on how moons and planets form in young stellar systems.

“Our work presents a clear detection of a disc in which satellites could be forming,” says Myriam Benisty ... “Our ALMA observations were obtained at such exquisite resolution that we could clearly identify that the disc is associated with the planet and we are able to constrain its size for the first time,” she adds.

The disc in question, called a circumplanetary disc, surrounds the exoplanet PDS 70c, one of two giant, Jupiter-like planets orbiting a star nearly 400 light-years away. Astronomers had found hints of a “moon-forming” disc around this exoplanet before but, since they could not clearly tell the disc apart from its surrounding environment, they could not confirm its detection — until now.

In addition, with the help of ALMA, Benisty and her team found that the disc has about the same diameter as the distance from our Sun to the Earth and enough mass to form up to three satellites the size of the Moon. ...

A Circumplanetary Disk around PDS70c ~ Myriam Benisty et al
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