Jul 16

Stellar Outburst Brings Water Snow Line Into View

Source: ESO Science Release eso1626

eso1626aArtist’s impression of the water snowline around the young star V883 Orionis.
Image credits: A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF)/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO).

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the young star V883 Orionis flash heated the inner portion of the disc, pushing the water snow line out to a far greater distance than is normal for a protostar, and making it possible to observe it for the first time. The results are published in the journal Nature on 14 July 2016. (learn more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
Jun 16

TW Hya Association: Smaller Stars Pack Big X-ray Punch For Would-be Planets

Source: Chandra

Black Seed_images_allTW Hya Association.
Image credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIT/J.Kastner et al; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.

 Young stars much less massive than the Sun can unleash a torrent of X-ray radiation that can significantly shorten the lifetime of planet-forming disks surrounding these stars. This result comes from a new study of a group of nearby stars using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.(learn more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
Jun 16

First Detection of Methyl Alcohol in a Planet-forming Disc

Source: ESO Science Release eso1619

eso1619aArtist’s impression of the disc around the young star TW Hydra.
Image Credits: ESO/M. Kornmesser

The organic molecule methyl alcohol (methanol) has been found by the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disc. This is the first such detection of the compound in a young planet-forming disc. Methanol is the only complex organic molecule as yet detected in discs that unambiguously derives from an icy form. Its detection helps astronomers understand the chemical processes that occur during the formation of planetary systems and that ultimately lead to the creation of the ingredients for life. (learn more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
Mar 16

ALMA’s Most Detailed Image of a Protoplanetary Disc

Source: ESO Photo Release eso1611

eso1611aALMA image of the planet-forming disc around the young, Sun-like star TW Hydrae.
Image credits: S. Andrews (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

This new image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) shows the finest detail ever seen in the planet-forming disc around the nearby Sun-like star TW Hydrae. It reveals a tantalising gap at the same distance from the star as the Earth is from the Sun, which may mean that an infant version of our home planet, or possibly a more massive super-Earth, is beginning to form there.(learn more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon
Jun 12

Small Planets don't need Stars with heavy metal content to form

Source: NASA Kepler

Artist's impression of planet formation.
Image credits: Credit: University of Copenhagen/Lars Buchhave .

The formation of small worlds like Earth previously was thought to occur mostly around stars rich in heavy elements such as iron and silicon. However, new ground-based observations, combined with data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, shows small planets form around stars with a wide range of heavy element content and suggests they may be widespread in our galaxy.(read more)

Twitter del.icio.us Digg Facebook linked-in Yahoo Buzz StumbleUpon