The world’s highest radio telescope, built on a Chilean plateau in the Andes 5,000 metres above sea level, has captured the first image of a new planet being formed as it gobbles up the cosmic dust and gas surrounding a distant star.
Astronomers have long predicted that giant “gas” planets similar to Jupiter would form by collecting the dust and debris that forms around a young star. Now they have the first visual evidence to support the phenomenon, scientists said.
The image taken by the Atacama Millimetre-submillimetre Array (ALMA) in Chile shows two streams of gas connecting the inner and outer disks of cosmic material surrounding the star HD 142527, which is about 450 light-years from Earth.
Astronomers believe the gas streamers are the result of two giant planets – too small to be visible in this image – exerting a gravitational pull on the cloud of surrounding dust and gas, causing the material to flow from the outer to inner stellar disks, said Simon Casassus of the University of Chile in Santiago.
Written By: Steve Connorcontinue to source article at independent.co.uk