Astronomers in Chile Observatory Spot New Alien Planet's Birth (VIDEO)
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 3, 2013 5:49 PM EST
Astronomers have captured on photograph the birth or formation of a new alien planet. The photo was taken at the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile.
Space.com reported that the young star called HD 100546 was initially seen as a faint orb embedded in a disk of gas and dust. The new planet was formed from the leftover materials of the disk.
Sascha Quenz of the ETH Zurich in Switzerland, the leader of the research team that took the photograph, was quoted by Space.com as saying, "If our discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage."
They took the photo from about 335 light-years from Earth at a star believed to host a giant planet six times away from the star than the Earth's distance from the sun. It is estimated to be farther by about 10 times from its star than the Earth is from the Sun.
In late 2012, Abel Mendez from the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico forecast the discovery of the first Earth twin in 2013. The alien plant was within a narrow stretch of space with conditions similar to that of the Earth, called the Goldilocks zone.
The observation of the planet birth appears to support the hypothesis of scientists on how worlds are formed such as stars coming from gas and dust clouds and the disk of the remaining materials orbits them into a ring formation which eventually leads to the formation of baby planets.
Mr Quanz said the protoplanet would likely take tens of thousands of years to group up which would provide astronomers the opportunity to study the process and learn more about its creation and evolution.
The Very Large Telescope is operated by the European Southern Observatory at the barren Atacama Desert in Chile. It is made up of four 8-metre telescopes that can combine their light to make a giant telescope by interferometry. It includes four smaller auxiliary telescopes with 1.8 m in aperture each, considered as essential elements of the interferometer.
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