Looking at double star CS Cha researchers found toddler planet in 600 light-years from Earth

May 11, 2018 - By Maria Brooks

Looking at double star CS Cha researchers found toddler planet in 600 light-years from Earth

Looking at double star CS Cha researchers found toddler planet in 600 light-years from Earth

Astronomers at Leiden University, Netherlands, headed by Christian Ginski, were looking at a young double star called CS Cha, and have found a newly formed planet, still growing. It is 600 light years away from our planet Earth and situated in Chameleon constellation in the southern hemisphere.

What is a double star? It is a system where two stars move around each other, or technically they are orbiting around the barycenter, the space between them. Scientists say this star is only 2-3 million years old. It is in the early stage of development. It made astronomers look for a newly born planet and dust disc.

They wanted to research double star and found a small spot in the image made by C. Ginski & SPHERE Very Large Telescope. After that they found old photos from the same place, and found out the same dark spot on photos from Hubble Space Telescope made 19 years ago, and on photos from Very Large Telescope in Chile made 11 years back.

Small spot that scientists believe is a planet moved with the double star system.

Binary star CS Cha

Binary star CS Cha

The new data soon will be released in Astronomy And Astrophysics Journal.

“The most exciting part is that the light of the companion is highly polarised.  Such a preference in the direction of polarization usually occurs when the light is scattered along the way. We suspect that the companion is surrounded by his own dust disc. The tricky part is that the disc blocks a large part of the light and that is why we can hardly determine the mass of the companion.  So it could be a brown dwarf but also a super-Jupiter in his toddler years. The classical planet-forming-models can’t help us”, says main researcher Christian Ginski.

How are the planets born? The truth is, nobody knows. NASA can only assume, and the whole process of planet formation must be completely revealed thanks to their new Mars mission.

Origin of the newly born planet is unclear. It can be either dwarf star or a gas giant like Jupiter or even bigger.

What next? Astronomers will use telescope ALMA to receive more data about origins of CS Cha.

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