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Scientists found a live planet for the first time in history


Astronomers have looked into what seems to be a planetary maternity ward, observing a planet in the process of being born for the first time within a huge disk of dense gas and dust surrounding a newly formed star.

This large young planet is forming around a star called AB Aurigae which is about 2.4 times the sun 's mass and is located 520 light years from Earth in our Milky Way galaxy, researchers said on Wednesday. A light year is the distance light which travels 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km) in a year.

The scientists used the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile to spot a spiral structure generated by the presence of a planet inside the swirling disc around AB Aurigae. They detected a "twist" pattern of gas and dust in the marking of the spiral structure where the planet would coalesce.

"For a planet to be in its final stage takes several million years, so birth isn't well defined in time. However, we can say that in the formation process we were likely able to catch a planet, "said astronomer Anthony Boccaletti of the Observatoire de Paris, who led the research published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

We have discovered more than 4,000 planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Scientists are eager to learn more about how they are born in these disks surrounding new stars, as cold gas and dust consolidate.

The planet is about 30 times further away from its star than the distance from the sun from Earth-about the distance of the planet Neptune in our solar system, Boccaletti said. It seems to be a large gas planet, not a rocky planet like Earth or Mars, and perhaps more massive than the largest planet Jupiter in our solar system, Boccaletti added.

Article Edited by | John Heine |

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