Unknown treasure trove of planets found hiding in dust

December 6, 2018, University of Arizona

The Taurus Molecular Cloud, pictured here by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory, is a star-forming region about 450 light-years away. The image frame covers roughly 14 by 16 light-years and shows the glow of cosmic dust in the interstellar material that pervades the cloud, revealing an intricate pattern of filaments dotted with a few compact, bright cores -- the seeds of future stars. Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/Gould Belt survey Key Programme/Palmeirim et al. 2013
"Super-Earths" and Neptune-sized planets could be forming around young stars in much greater numbers than scientists thought, new research by an international team of astronomers suggests.

Observing a sampling of in a star-forming region in the constellation Taurus, researchers found many of them to be surrounded by structures that can best be explained as traces created by invisible, young planets in the making. The research, published in the Astrophysical Journal, helps scientists better understand how our own solar system came to be.

Some 4.6 billion years ago, our solar system was a roiling, billowing swirl of gas and dust surrounding our newborn sun. At the early stages, this so-called protoplanetary had no discernable features, but soon, parts of it began to coalesce into clumps of matter—the future planets. As they picked up new material along their trip around the sun, they grew and started to plow patterns of gaps and rings into the disk from which they formed. Over time, the gave way to the relatively orderly arrangement we know today, consisting of planets, moons, asteroids and the occasional comet.

Scientists base this scenario of how our solar system came to be on observations of protoplanetary disks around other stars that are young enough to currently be in the process of birthing planets. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, comprising 45 radio antennas in Chile's Atacama Desert, the team performed a survey of young stars in the Taurus star-forming region, a vast cloud of gas and dust located a modest 450 light-years from Earth. When the researchers imaged 32 stars surrounded by protoplanetary disks, they found that 12 of them—40 percent—have rings and gaps, structures that according to the team's measurements and calculations can be best explained by the presence of nascent planets.

"This is fascinating because it is the first time that exoplanet statistics, which suggest that super-Earths and Neptunes are the most common type of planets, coincide with observations of protoplanetary disks," said the paper's lead author, Feng Long, a doctoral student at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University in Bejing, China.

While some protoplanetary disks appear as uniform, pancake-like objects lacking any features or patterns, concentric bright rings separated by gaps have been observed, but since previous surveys have focused on the brightest of these objects because they are easier to find, it was unclear how common disks with and gap structures really are in the universe. This study presents the results of the first unbiased survey in that the target disks were selected independently of their brightness—in other words, the researchers did not know whether any of their targets had ring structures when they selected them for the survey.

"Most previous observations had been targeted to detect the presence of very massive planets, which we know are rare, that had carved out large inner holes or gaps in bright disks," said the paper's second author Paola Pinilla, a NASA Hubble Fellow at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. "While massive planets had been inferred in some of these bright disks, little had been known about the fainter disks."

Until recently, protoplanetary disks were believed to be smooth, like pancake-like objects. The results from this study show that some disks are more like doughnuts with holes, but even more often appear as a series of rings. The rings are likely carved by planets that are otherwise invisible to us. Credit: Feng Long

The team, which also includes Nathan Hendler and Ilaria Pascucci at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, measured the properties of rings and gaps observed with ALMA and analyzed the data to evaluate possible mechanisms that could cause the observed rings and gaps. While these structures may be carved by planets, previous research has suggested that they may also be created by other effects. In one commonly suggested scenario, so-called ice lines caused by changes in the chemistry of the dust particles across the disc in response to the distance to the host star and its magnetic field create pressure variations across the disk. These effects can create variations in the disk, manifesting as rings and gaps.

The researchers performed analyses to test these alternative explanations and could not establish any correlations between stellar properties and the patterns of gaps and rings they observed.

"We can therefore rule out the commonly proposed idea of ice lines causing the rings and gaps," Pinilla said. "Our findings leave nascent planets as the most likely cause of the patterns we observed, although some other processes may also be at work."

Since detecting the individual planets directly is impossible because of the overwhelming brightness of the host star, the team performed calculations to get an idea of the kinds of planets that might be forming in the Taurus star-forming region. According to the findings, Neptune-sized gas planets or so-called super-Earths—terrestrial of up to 20 Earth masses—should be the most common. Only two of the observed disks could potentially harbor behemoths rivaling Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.

"Since most of the current exoplanet surveys can't penetrate the thick dust of , all exoplanets, with one exception, have been detected in more evolved systems where a disk is no longer present," Pinilla said.

Going forward, the research group plans to move ALMA's antennas farther apart, which should increase the array's resolution to around five astronomical units (one AU equals the average distance between the Earth and the sun), and to make the antennas sensitive to other frequencies that are sensitive to other types of dust.

"Our results are an exciting step in understanding this key phase of planet formation," Long said, "and by making these adjustments, we are hoping to better understand the origins of the rings and gaps."

Explore further: Protoplanetary disk material found to be too sparse to form planet populations

More information: Feng Long et al, Gaps and Rings in an ALMA Survey of Disks in the Taurus Star-forming Region, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae8e1

Related Stories

Rings and gaps in a developing planetary system

April 2, 2018

The discovery of an exoplanet has most often resulted from the monitoring of a star's flicker (the transiting method) or its wobble (the radial velocity method). Discovery by direct imaging is rare because it is so difficult ...

Astronomers track the birth of a 'super-Earth'

July 11, 2017

A new model giving rise to young planetary systems offers a fresh solution to a puzzle that has vexed astronomers ever since new detection technologies and planet-hunting missions such as NASA's Kepler space telescope have ...

New and improved way to find baby planets

June 14, 2018

New work from an international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Jaehan Bae used archival radio telescope data to develop a new method for finding very young extrasolar planets. Their technique successfully confirmed ...

Scientists discover organic acid in a protoplanetary disk

August 15, 2018

An international team of scientists from Russia, Germany, Italy, the U.S. and France has discovered a relatively high concentration of formic acid in a protoplanetary disk. This is the first organic molecule found in protoplanetary ...

Recommended for you

Hubble finds far-away planet vanishing at record speed

December 13, 2018

The speed and distance at which planets orbit their respective blazing stars can determine each planet's fate—whether the planet remains a longstanding part of its solar system or evaporates into the universe's dark graveyard ...

Preparing for discovery with NASA's Parker Solar Probe

December 13, 2018

Weeks after Parker Solar Probe made the closest-ever approach to a star, the science data from the first solar encounter is just making its way into the hands of the mission's scientists. It's a moment many in the field have ...

Rosetta witnesses birth of baby bow shock around comet

December 12, 2018

A new study reveals that, contrary to first impressions, Rosetta did detect signs of an infant bow shock at the comet it explored for two years – the first ever seen forming anywhere in the solar system.

28 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Steelwolf
2 / 5 (12) Dec 06, 2018
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say. Perhaps this will nudge towards the idea that since magnetic fields are ubiquitous, they actually DO things.
jonesdave
4.1 / 5 (13) Dec 06, 2018
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say. Perhaps this will nudge towards the idea that since magnetic fields are ubiquitous, they actually DO things.


No, I've told you before, you cretin - magnetic fields have long been invoked in star formation. That is why Philae measured the magnetic field of comet 67P. We wanted to get a handle on the remnant magnetism, which might give us an idea of what the field strength may have been. As it was, they measured no field intrinsic to the nucleus.
Your problem is that you believe the utter sh!te from idiots like Thornhill, who preaches that real science ignores magnetic fields in astrophysics. They only ignore pure woo, such as magnetic fields moving stars around!
Captain Stumpy
4.6 / 5 (9) Dec 06, 2018
@steel
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say
links and references, please

or specific quotes for contextual purposes and validation

thanks

I think you may well be misinterpreting him

EDIT: I know you're misinterpreting him

the question is: why are you?
Steelwolf
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 06, 2018
Well, now we have a real quandry, a big mis-quoter asking for the exact quote from a known troll and multiple liar in jd, as he HAS stated that magnetic fields have no bearing on planetary formation or movement. And that was recent, stump can do his own homework assignments and roll around in his own trollish toxic wastes. Which have been amply spread across these PO articles for years, the Other Readers may decide and judge.
691Boat
4.5 / 5 (17) Dec 06, 2018
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say. Perhaps this will nudge towards the idea that since magnetic fields are ubiquitous, they actually DO things.

If you had actually read the article and understood the words written in it, you have have seen that they did consider the magnetic field of the host star causing "ice lines". They tested that hypothesis and ruled it out. True, this does not rule out all possible magnetic actions, but the most likely major contributor has been nixed.
Steelwolf
1.9 / 5 (9) Dec 06, 2018
Ice lanes can create local increase of density and actually help the star's planetary formation.
jonesdave
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 06, 2018
Well, now we have a real quandry, a big mis-quoter asking for the exact quote from a known troll and multiple liar in jd, as he HAS stated that magnetic fields have no bearing on planetary formation or movement. And that was recent, stump can do his own homework assignments and roll around in his own trollish toxic wastes. Which have been amply spread across these PO articles for years, the Other Readers may decide and judge.


No, that is a lie, you twat. I have said magnetic fields have no bearing on galaxy rotation curves. They can't move stars around. They have long been invoked in star formation.
For instance;

A theory of the role of magnetic activity during star formation
Schatzman, E. (1962)
http://adsabs.har...25...18S
Captain Stumpy
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 06, 2018
@steel
a big mis-quoter asking for the exact quote from a known troll and multiple liar in jd
where, exactly, have I misquoted you or anyone else?

links/references please
as he HAS stated that magnetic fields have no bearing on planetary formation or movement
then it should be easily found by you, right?

You made the claim so the burden of proof is on you

I mean, if he has stated it, you should be able to show where - unless this is like your jet fuel conspiracy

I know what you're talking about and you're lying about what Jones said, which is why I want you to post the specific quote

essentially it boils down to this: if ya can't substantiate your claim, you're a liar
Whydening Gyre
4.3 / 5 (12) Dec 06, 2018
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say. Perhaps this will nudge towards the idea that since magnetic fields are ubiquitous, they actually DO things.

FTA;
"The researchers performed analyses to test these alternative explanations and could not establish any correlations between stellar properties and the patterns of gaps and rings they observed."

jonesdave
4.2 / 5 (10) Dec 06, 2018
multiple liar in jd,


Really, thicko? Where have I lied, you f***wit? Please link to where this happened, you useless POS.
jonesdave
4.6 / 5 (9) Dec 06, 2018
So, magnetic fields dont 'have anything to at all with how planets form or their orbits' as jd is wont to say.


They have nothing to do with their orbits, that much is true. Planets form where they form, and eventually influence the orbits of each other through resonances. If you think magnetic fields have anything to do with the orbit of the Earth, for instance, around the Sun, then you are a certifiable moron. However, on the initial pre-solar nebula, they may well have had an effect.

Ultron
5 / 5 (4) Dec 06, 2018
Interesting research. I was wondering if there is some information about the speed of rotation of the stars in these observed star systems.

I like the refreshing new approach, when they honestly admit that there is no clear explanation of this creation process, because observed data does not fit proposed mainstream hypotheses.
FredJose
2 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2018
. At the early stages, this so-called protoplanetary disk had no discernable features, but soon, parts of it began to coalesce into clumps of matter—the future planets.

Really? Can this be true? Just how does this process start? As far as I know, even the best simulations cannot get planetary formation started without a whole heap of imaginary assumed initial conditions.. So just where is this observational evidence documented that shows how planets can actually form from clouds of dust? Please, someone, direct me to this most wonderful of resources so I too can become a believer. And , yes, I have seen the claim -
Scientists base this scenario of how our solar system came to be on observations of protoplanetary disks around other stars that are young enough to currently be in the process of birthing planets.
but that is just more story than actuality.
FredJose
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 07, 2018
they found that 12 of them—40 percent—have rings and gaps, structures that according to the team's measurements and calculations can be best explained by the presence of nascent planets.

One has to be so careful of making leaps of inference here. What is observed is simply already existing swathes and paths in a thick cloud of dust - and seemingly something accumulating some of it. What was NOT observed was how it actually started. That is the whole crux of the matter here. There is no observational support for the idea that given a cloud of dust around a star, planets will spontaneously form under certain conditions. So for anyone to make the leap and state that this nebular planetary formation process is a fact is simply spreading lies. Right now every statement regarding "formation" of stars and planets need to be prefixed with "It is thought that" or something similar to show it NOT a fact but pure speculation and calling it a fact is blind faith.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
2.1 / 5 (7) Dec 07, 2018
. At the early stages, this so-called protoplanetary disk had no discernable features, but soon, parts of it began to coalesce into clumps of matter—the future planets.

Really? Can this be true? Just how does this process start? As far as I know, even the best simulations cannot get planetary formation started without a whole heap of imaginary assumed initial conditions.. So just where is this observational evidence documented that shows how planets can actually form from clouds of dust? claim -
Scientists base this scenario of how our solar system came to be on observations of protoplanetary disks around other stars that are young enough to currently be in the process of birthing planets.
but that is just more story than actuality.
says FredJ

The key words are "coalesce" and "clumps". The dust eventually coalesce/stick together to form clumps of Matter - and those clumps collide, stick together - followed by more of the same until enough
-contd-

Surveillance_Egg_Unit
2.3 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2018
-contd-
@FJ
until enough clumps of dust/Matter have come together. At a certain point (which is unknown) the clumped ball of Matter begins its own gravitational attraction that draws other clumps of Matter into it. The whole of it becomes larger and, as it grows, its gravitational pull attracts more Matter into itself - eventually becoming a protoplanet. The process continues on until it has grown in size to be a full sized planet with a possible atmosphere.

Of course you knew this already and decided to have some fun at someone else's expense, right?
;>)
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 07, 2018
Interesting research. I was wondering if there is some information about the speed of rotation of the stars in these observed star systems.

I like the refreshing new approach, when they honestly admit that there is no clear explanation of this creation process, because observed data does not fit proposed mainstream hypotheses.

says Ultron

This may help:
https://phys.org/...ars.html

georgi_gladyshev
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2018
Probably, the variety of disk forms reflects the dynamics of the origin of planets.
Planetary systems are formed and evolve in time. This predicts a physicochemical model of the formation of planetary systems. This model predicted the existence of rings around Uranus, Neptune, around young stars and young planets. The model also predicted that the satellites of the central bodies are formed from the rings!
See please:
https://en.wikipe...g_system
Physicochemical Stages of Evolution: Ring-Like Structures in the Universe. Natural Science
http://www.scirp....qN7ntmko
http://endeav.net...ngs.html
http://malagabay....adyshev/
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2018
Simple Minds want Simple Rules to enforce Simple Conclusions.

See any of freddies postings. No, it doesn't really matter which in particular. They all are equally incoherent, plagiarized nonsense.

This research continues to advance the realization that the naturally-occurring formations of stars and planets, are a lot more complex, stochastic process then we originally considered possible.

The only rules that seem to explain these chaotic processes & randomized assemblies are:

Whatever you expected? Is going to bite you on your ass!

Random Chance, Improbable occurrences, Disappointing Fails are a predominant consequence of stellar & planetary evolution.

Gravity Rules & it is remorseless!

If your head doesn't hurt reading my woomaginings? Go back & read it again. Your pain amuses me!
granville583762
3 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2018
Starlets and their Planets
phys.org> Observing a sampling of young stars in a star-forming region in the constellation Taurus, researchers found many of them to be surrounded by structures that can best be explained as traces created by invisible, young planets in the making

Now planets forming are visible
they appear to be forming when the starlets are still in their nurseries
phys.org> Some 4.6 billion years ago, our solar system was a roiling, billowing swirl of gas and dust surrounding our newborn sun

It was assumed the new born starlet blew it excess dust into the vacuum
But it seems the case the planets form from the very same stellar nursery dust clouds
jonesdave
3.7 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2018
It was assumed the new born starlet blew it excess dust into the vacuum


No, it wasn't.

But it seems the case the planets form from the very same stellar nursery dust clouds


Correct. Which has long been theorised. And now confirmed by observation, particularly by ALMA.

torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 07, 2018
This is a really interesting article.

But then the reader meet the disappointment that:
- The very first comment is by someone not even reading the article, instead trolling pseudoscience
- A thread full of personal attacks
- Some crackpot trolling some - no doubt own produced - other pseudoscience and a link hive
- Superstitious trolls that trolls antiscience - no "spontaneous" mechanisms allowed in their erroneous superstition though science has them and for good reason as they are observed
- A comment that attack science by implying that confessing to not knowing - the initial state in science - is somehow "new".

Why can't they troll superstitious sites instead, is it too much to instead having to try to seem rational? This inane behavior is getting boring fast.
granville583762
not rated yet Dec 08, 2018
Discussing Trollian
The very first comment is by someone not even reading the article, instead trolling pseudoscience
A thread full of personal attacks
Some crackpot trolling some - no doubt own produced - other pseudoscience and a link hive
Superstitious trolls that trolls antiscience - no "spontaneous" mechanisms allowed in their erroneous superstition though science has them and for good reason as they are observed
A comment that attack science by implying that confessing to not knowing - the initial state in science - is somehow "new".
Why can't they troll superstitious sites instead.

The traditional starlet theory
was
that
when our starlet emergeths its nursery
it does so by blowing of its exterior material plasma
as this material then forms planets

This New Theory
is
planets form
while still in the starlets nursery
Whereas yourself torbjorn_b_g_larsson, are discussing trollian
granville583762
not rated yet Dec 08, 2018
Defining correct definitions
JD
It was assumed the new born starlet blew it excess dust into the vacuum

No, it wasn't.
But it seems the case the planets form from the very same stellar nursery dust clouds

Correct. Which has long been theorised. And now confirmed by observation, particularly by ALMA

It is a long time I heard this JD, "It was assumed the new born starlets blew its excess dust into the vacuum" that formed planets
because of which
I did not look it up again
as you know
in my convoluted way
I can rearrange this
as whether the starlet blows of excess material that goes to form planets
or planets are formed while still in the starlets nursery
In both cases, the planetary material comes from the stellar nursery
So as starlets and planets form in their nurseries

Does the starlet blow of excess material?
Is it also correct that if the starlet blows of excess material, it does not affect existing planets?
jonesdave
4 / 5 (4) Dec 08, 2018
Does the starlet blow of excess material?
Is it also correct that if the starlet blows of excess material, it does not affect existing planets?


https://en.wikipe...uri_star

granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2018
Interesting, magnetic fields, solar wind of Alfvén waves transfer angular momentum

Half of T Tauri stars have Circumstellar disks called protoplanetary discs they are progenitors of planetary systems Circumstellar discs estimated to dissipate in 10 million years most T Tauri stars are binary star systems are called Young Stellar Objects It is thought that the active magnetic fields and strong solar wind of Alfvén waves of T Tauri stars are one means by which angular momentum is transferred from star to the protoplanetary disc a T Tauri stage for the Solar System would be one means by which the angular momentum of the contracting Sun was transferred to the protoplanetary disc and hence, eventually to the planets.
https://en.wikipe...uri_star

Magnetic fields and strong solar wind of Alfvén waves of T Tauri stars transfers angular momentum from the star to the proto planetary disc
granville583762
5 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2018
I didn't say anything, an exercise in not saying anything!
Does the starlet blow of excess material?
jonesdave> Is it also correct that if the starlet blows of excess material, it does not affect existing planets?

https://en.wikipe...uri_star]https://en.wikipe...uri_star[/url]

I didn't say anything
I'm not saying any thing
but
what I am saying
is self evident
is visibly apparent
as I am not say anything
as JD is not saying any thing
JD has not actually said anything at all
so
as we stand here not saying anything
what should have said
is apparently
in
https://en.wikipe...uri_star]https://en.wikipe...uri_star[/url]
An observation in not saying anything while answering the question
Thanks JD
Benni
1 / 5 (5) Dec 09, 2018
An observation in not saying anything while answering the question
like claiming there are pictures for which observations show no evidence?

"Ever increasing resolution in infrared images showed the black hole is not the energy source. The brightest source in the very high resolution near infrared image to the right is IRS 7, a red supergiant that puts out most of its energy in the near infrared. The other bright stars are also very young and massive. The blue-appearing ones in the center of the image are a unique clustering of very luminous, massive stars. Any black hole must be invisible. (image from Gemini Project). If the black hole dominated the energy of the Galactic Center, it would be the second brightest source in the infrared image."

http://ircamera.a...nter.htm

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.