By using the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) - one of the most powerful planet-hunting instruments in existence - the worldwide team has made the first robust detection of a young planet, named PDS 70b, cleaving a path through the planet-forming material surrounding the young star.
Miriam Kepler of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany said hints of baby planets have been detected before, but astronomers were not sure whether those observations might simply be features in the swirling dust. That's depending on the name of the star in its orbit, PDS 70.
A planet-hunting instrument has captured the first confirmed image of a newborn planet that's still forming in our galaxy. The was the first direct image of a planet, which is still formed around the star.
In the featured photo, the dark region is actually the effect of a coronagraph, which masks the extremely bright light emanating from the star.
This is a baby picture of sorts, but PDS 70b isn't especially cute or cuddly. This disc aids in the formation of planets which accumulate the contents of the disc and become solid in order to form a huge mass of land. While scientists keep looking for planets which are fully matured, it is interesting to see one which is still midway of growing up. They estimate PDS 70 b to be a very large planet - several times larger than Jupiter, according to a press release from the European Southern Observatory.
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Because this planet is a gas giant just like Jupiter is, monitoring its growth could reveal more about how quickly Jupiter formed alongside Earth.
Although the planet looks close to its star in the image, it's 1,864,113,576 miles away.
André Müller, also with the Max Planck institute and leader of the second team, said in a statement that "Keppler's results give us a new window onto the complex and poorly-understood early stages of planetary evolution".
This glimpse of the dust-shrouded birth of a planet was only possible thanks to the impressive technological capabilities of ESO's SPHERE instrument, which studies exoplanets and discs around nearby stars using a technique known as high-contrast imaging - a challenging feat.
SPHERE was able to measure the planet's brightness at different wavelengths, which enabled the researchers to determine the properties of its atmosphere.