Subaru Telescope’s near-infrared (1.6 um) image of the protoplanetary disk around the young star J 1604. A black circular mask covers the bright, saturated light from the central star. The gauges for distance are in astronomical units and arc seconds. (Abbreviated as AU, an astronomical unit is the distance between the Sun and Earth. Abbreviated as arcsec, an arc second is 1/3600 of a degree.) Prominent features include the hole (white dotted line) in the disk; the arm extending over the hole (on the right); and the asymmetric dip (on the left). Click here for the image without labels. (Credit: The Graduate University for Advanced Studies and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan).

Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition To Planet Formation

by Staff Writers
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Feb 11, 2013

An international team of astronomers led by Satoshi Mayama (Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan) and Ruobing Dong (Princeton University, U.S.A.) has made observations with the Subaru Telescope and captured the first vivid infrared image of a curved arm of dust extending over a hole on a disk around a young star – 2MASS J16042165-2130284 (J1604).

This feature indicates the probable existence of unseen planets within the hole. The image shows the dynamic environment in which planets may be born and gives information about constraints on the distance at which planets can form from a central star [Figure 1].

Research over the past two decades has confirmed that new stars are often surrounded by disks of dense gas and dust (“protoplanetary disks”) from which planets form. A central star enters an active phase of planet building when it is a few million years old.

Read more: Direct Infrared Image Of An Arm In Disk Demonstrates Transition To Planet Formation — Space Daily.

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