Three newborn exoplanets found around distant star

Astronomers have discovered three newborn worlds around the star HD 163296.
By Joseph Scalise | Oct 01, 2018
Astronomers from Monash University in Australia and the University of Michigan have spotted three exoplanets in the process of being born around a young star, two new studies (1 and 2) published inthe Astrophysical Journal Letters report.

The distant star -- known as HD 163296 -- and sits330 light years from our solar systemtowards the constellation Sagittarius.

Past observations of the celestial body showed that a protoplanetary disk of dust and gas circles around the star. However, there are two dark gaps within that disk that scientists believe are the result of newly forming planets.

To get a better look at the worlds, the team analyzed past data collected on the star and foundall three new planets are like Jupiter-like gas giants that orbit at distances of 80, 140, and 260 astronomical units.

They reached that conclusion by studying the motion of carbon monoxide gas in the disk. That revealed shifts in the gas, which typically only occur when a large body moves them.

"It would take a relatively massive object, like a planet, to create localized disturbances in this otherwise orderly motion," explained one of the paper's lead authors Christophe Pinte, a researcher at Monash University, in astatement.

While scientists have discovered more than 3,700 exoplanets, almost all of them were found using either the so-called "transit" or "radial-velocity" methods. This new discovery used neither strategy, which means the technique could open the door to new research and alter the way astronomers try to find young distant worlds.

"This entirely new approach could uncover some of the youngest planets in our galaxy, all thanks to the high-resolution images coming from ALMA," said lead study author Richard Teague, a researcher at the University of Michigan, according toSpace.com.

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