Scientists are watching an Alien planet BORN! Will this be an Earth twin? | Tech News

Scientists are watching an Alien planet BORN! Will this be an Earth twin?

A study has detailed an exoplanet which is in its early stages of formation. It is a very rare occurrence and scientists believe that it will help them know how the atmosphere of Earth was developed. But can it support life? Find out.

| Updated on: Aug 11 2022, 14:18 IST
AMAZING image of Earendel star captured by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
Birth of planet
1/5 (NASA)
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2/5 The image was tweeted on August 2 by a group of astronomers who post images from the James Webb Space Telescope through the Cosmic Spring JWST Twitter account. The image was captioned, “We're excited to share the first JWST image of Earendel, the most distant star known in our universe, lensed and magnified by a massive galaxy cluster. It was observed Saturday by JWST program 2282”. (AP)
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3/5 The Earendel star was discovered earlier this year by the old Hubble Space Telescope. Although it managed to capture the star, the image was not as clear as the one taken by James Webb Telescope. (NASA)
Birth of planet
4/5 In comparison, its successor, James Webb Space Telescope captured the image which showed the faint red glow of the Earendel star and the starry trail on which it lies. The star is seen as a tiny red speck at the lower right side of the image. (NASA)
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5/5 To capture these distant objects in detail, astronomers use Gravitational lensing. Celestial objects such as stars and galaxies bend light emitting from the objects behind them due to its gravitational fields. When this light from farther stars passes through these massive celestial objects, it acts like it is passing through the lens of a telescope and becomes magnified. This enables astronomers to capture them in extreme detail. (NASA)
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Scientists are observing a planet in its infancy. As they watch it grow, they hope to gain a better understanding of how atmosphere is created on a planet. It will also reveal whether this planet can support life. (Pixabay)

It is an incredibly rare opportunity in modern astronomy when we can see the birth of a celestial body. And that is because our planet is comparatively very young and most celestial bodies were already there by the time humans developed technology to observe space. But because of this, a lot of what we know about the birth of our own Earth as well as the various stages it must have gone through to be the life supporting planet it is today, is in theory. But now, a group of scientists have been able to observe an infant planet which is still gaseous in nature. And it is believed that not only will observing this developing exoplanet (a planet outside the solar system) help us understand how the atmosphere is created, but will also answer whether that planet can support life.

According to a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters on July 27, researchers have spotted a budding planet near the star AS-209 in the Ophiuchus constellation of the Milky Way galaxy. The exoplanet looks like a disc of gas at this point with the amount of mass equivalent to Jupiter. The observations were made using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Scientists observe an infant planet

The exoplanet is relatively close to us at a distance of about 395 light years. And as scientists have stumbled upon this nearby planet at this stage of its forming, it offers a good opportunity to observe it closely and understand how the atmosphere is created within a planetary system.

“The best way to study planet formation is to observe planets while they're forming. We are living in a very exciting time when this happens thanks to powerful telescopes”, said Jaehan Bae, a professor of astronomy at the University of Florida and lead author of the study.

Scientists, although admitting that it is too early to say anything, believe that the exoplanet is not likely to support life. This is because it is too large and is placed in a region with a lot of dust and gasses. Such celestial bodies are more likely to become a gas giant like Jupiter and not a rocky planet like Earth.

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First Published Date: 11 Aug, 14:11 IST