News / Science & Technology

Astronomers Find Possible Protoplanet Being Formed

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view of the dust disc around the young star HD 100546. (ESO/NASA/ESA/Ardila et al.)
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view of the dust disc around the young star HD 100546. (ESO/NASA/ESA/Ardila et al.)
VOA News
An international team led by Swiss astronomer Sascha Quanz has made what could be the first direct observation of a planet in the process of being formed. It is still embedded in a thick disc of gas and dust encircling a relatively nearby young star - only about 335 light years from Earth.

The scientists expect that as the protoplanet continues to gather material from the disc over millions of years, it will develop into a gas giant similar to the planet Jupiter in our solar system.

ESO/L. Calçada video: flying through the HD100546 system

Loading player...

Quanz notes that until now, computer simulations were the only way to study planet formation. But using the advanced optics of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope and new image analysis techniques, astronomers were able to see a faint blob in the circumstellar disc. If his team's finding is confirmed, astronomers would be able to test their theories against an observable target.

Although a protoplanet is the most likely explanation for the observations, the results of this study require follow-up observations to rule out other possibilities and confirm the existence of the planet.

  • This artist’s impression shows the formation of a planet in the ring of dust and gas around the young star HD 100546. (ESO/L. Calçada)
  • This image from the NACO system on ESO’s Very Large Telescope shows a candidate protoplanet in the disc of gas and dust around the young star HD100546. (ESO)
  • This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a visible light view of the outer dust around the young star HD100546. (ESO/NASA/ESA/Ardila et al.)
  • This chart shows the position of the young star HD 100546 in the southern constellation of Musca (The Fly). Most of the stars that are visible to the unaided eye from a clear and dark site are shown. (ESO, IAU and Sky & Telescope)
  • The sky around the young star HD 100546 in the southern constellation of Musca. (ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Davide De Martin)

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid