For the first time, direct ultraviolet images of an exoplanet – the solar system’s exoplanet – appear clearly in front of the human eye, suggesting that it is a giant world taking shape.
According to Sci-News, the aforementioned exoplanet, named PDS 70b, orbits an orange dwarf star 370 light years away, located in the constellation Centaur.
It is a very young star system with a mother star only 5.4 million years old, and the giant planet pictured is still in its infancy. But this “baby baby” is extremely gigantic: it is about the size of Jupiter in the solar system, but 5 times heavier than Jupiter, or more than 1,590 times the Earth!
The team led by Dr Yifan Zhou, an astronomer from the University of Texas at Austin (USA), used NASA’s famous Hubble / ESA space telescope to capture the PDS 70b with ultraviolet light (UV rays ).
Parent star PDS 70 actually contains up to 2 protoplanets, PDS 70b and PDS 70c, but only PDS 70b has actually formed and can be photographed. The planet is located 21 astronomical units (AU) from its mother star, as far as Uranus is from the Sun. 1 AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
The later formed PDS 70c will reach 34.5 AU, which is equivalent to the Neptune – Sun distance.
This orange dwarf also contains another large disk of gas and dust extending from a distance of 40 AU, where additional protoplanet disks can also form.
The planet imaged in PDS 70b is experiencing a constant increase in mass, but a sharp decline. Although in 5.4 million years it has gained 5 times the mass of Jupiter, but in the next million years it will only increase by about 1% of the mass of Jupiter.