Scientists are directly observing the formation of a solar system very similar to our own!

Scientists are directly observing the formation of a solar system very similar to our own!

About 500 light-years away, astronomers have identified a young star surrounded by several protoplanetary rings. This planetary system in the making, with future planets close to its star, could represent a formidable analogue for understanding the birth of our solar system.

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How was our solar system built? This is a very difficult question to answer, because it is a story that happened more than 4.6 billion years ago and we have only weak and indirect evidence left.

However, our solar system is not alone in the universe, far from it. Modern methods of astronomical observation regularly reveal new things to us. And if some of them seem very strange to us compared to what we have, others present surprising similarities, especially by their presence Rocky planetsRocky planets Potentially habitable, with sizes similar to Earth. Observations also reveal great diversity in ages. In fact, if some planetary systems are much older than ours, with stars at the end of their lives, others are younger. Some are even born. This is the case of the protoplanetary disk centered on the star HD 144432, which is located approximately 500 light-years away.

A young star surrounded by three close rings of dust

Study of this disk immediately revealed a complex organization of the inner area, with dust particles arranged and… GasGas After three concentric rings. Three rings, which, over time, perhaps after hundreds of millions of years, will give birth to three new rings ExoplanetsExoplanets rocky. Thus, this protoplanetary disk is an opportunity to directly observe the formation of a planetary system and better understand the processes that led to the planet's appearance. buildingbuilding For our own solar system.

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The first interesting observation is that the rings of the three protoplanets are located in positions relative to the central star that are relatively similar to that of the central star OrbitsOrbits to MercuryMercuryAnd Mars and JupiterJupiter. This is thus the first example of protoplanetary rings observed at such close proximity to a star. In fact, it represents the best currently known analogue for depicting the birth of our solar system.

Same ingredients as earth or mercury

But does this mean that future exoplanets will be similar in composition and structure to the planets of the solar system? maybe. Thanks to high-quality data AccuracyAccuracy he got it VLTIVLTI (Very large telescopic interferometer), researchers were already able to analyze and model the formation of dust rings. The article has been published In the magazine Astronomy and astrophysics Thus revealing that it mainly consists of SilicatesSilicates, MetalsMetals The majority of ShellShell And Earth mantleEarth mantlebut also ironironAn element that forms the core of rocky planets in our solar system.

Until now, observations of other protoplanetary disks have indicated a mixture of silicates and… carboncarbon. However, this new observation of iron-rich, carbon-poor rings is more consistent with models of the formation of rocky planets in the interior of Earth or Mercury, and suggests in passing that the composition of our solar system's planets could be quite typical, rather than as idiosyncratic as is sometimes suggested.

This new data can be supported by new observations. In fact, researchers have already identified other protoplanetary disks, and now they hope to be able to study them using VLTI.

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About the Author: Octávio Florencio

"Evangelista zumbi. Pensador. Criador ávido. Fanático pela internet premiado. Fanático incurável pela web."

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