Flying Saucer Is Deep-Frozen Planet-Forming Disk

Posted: Feb 4 2016, 4:35am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Flying Saucer is Deep-Frozen Planet-Forming Disk
The young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 lies in the spectacular Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth. It is surrounded by a disc of gas and dust — such discs are called protoplanetary discs as they are the early stages in the creation of planetary systems. This particular disc is seen nearly edge-on, and its appearance in visible light pictures has led to its being nicknamed the Flying Saucer. Credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2/NASA/ESA
  • The main image shows part of the Rho Ophiuchi region and a much enlarged close-up infrared view of the Flying Saucer from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is shown as an insert.

Deep Frozen Disk Flying Saucer debunks planetary formation models! The disk contains planetary building blocks so cold it doesn’t coincide with current planetary formation models.

Astronomers have unearthed a rather chilly secret about planet formations. A deep frozen disk like Flying Saucer was currently found by NASA. The disk contains planetary building blocks that are extremely cold.

The protoplanetary disk has been found surrounding a young star. The conditions do not meet the standard of current planetary formation models.

The star found in the disk is called 2MASS J16281370-2431391. The star is located some 400 light-years from Earth in the Rho Ophiuchi star formation region. 

The pictures show a glowing halo with a dark band in the middle. The dark band is in the middle of the photo is of increasing concern. The dark band has surprised astronomers since it looks like something out of a retro sci-fi comic book.

For that reason 2MASS J16281370-2431391 has earned the name the ‘Flying Saucer’. The saucer was caught on film by the ALMA nad IRAM telescope.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile was studying the saucer. Similarly the IRAM 30-meter telescope in Spain was also on to the flying saucer when they found something. The dust in the edge-on protoplanetary disk was found to be weird by the researchers. 

The disk has been seen in silhouette in front of the glow of the Rho Ophiuchi Nebula. ALMA detected the extended diffuse glow which is absorbed by the disc. Stephane Guilloteau, of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France is the lead author of the study.

According to Guilloteau, the disc is not observed against a black and empty night sky. The diffusive glow is absorbed by the disc. The absorption shows a resulting negative signal. It means the discs are colder than the background. The Earth is literally in the shadow of the Flying Saucer. 

The Guilloteau’s team carried out the first ever direct measurements. The relatively large grains of dust in the Flying Saucer are located around 15 billion kilometres.

The flying saucer has a low temperature of -266 degrees Celsius. The temperature is only 7 degrees above absolute zero. The grains will form planets as the system matures.

However current theoretical models predict this dust should be at least 10 to 15 degrees. The dust needs to be −258 to −253 degrees Celsius above absolute zero. This is where the discrepancy comes and is deemed huge. 

The temperature of the dust in protoplanetary disks can greatly impact the planets that eventually form, especially the size and developmental characteristics of the planet.

In the end it was decided that the researchers need more studies of more protoplanetary disks. They need to see the temperature versus particle size trend is typical for planet-forming systems. The discovery has definitely added new details to planet formation models. 

Emmanuel di Folco also from Laboratoire d’Astrophysique is a co-author. According to di Folco, they need to find out what plausible dust properties can result in such low temperatures.

Similarly di Folco stated they have a few ideas the temperature may depend on grain size. The predictions are too early to be substantial. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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