Around the planetary disk star AS 209

Astronomers may have discovered the youngest planet ever discovered in our galaxy

Scientists studying the young star AS 209 have detected gas in a planetary disk for the first time, suggesting that the star system may host a very young Jupiter-mass planet. The scientific image in the study shows (right) speckled light emission from other empty gaps in the highly structured seven-ringed disk (left). Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bae (University of Florida)

ALMA detects gas in orbiting planetary disk for the first time

Astronomers use the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the world’s largest ground-based facility for millimeter/submillimeter observations. ALMA consists of 66 high-precision dish antennas with a measurement range of 12 or 7 meters and a propagation distance of up to 16 kilometers. It is an international partnership between Europe, the United States, Japan and the Republic of Chile.

“data-gt-translation-attributes=”[{” attribute=””>ALMA) to study planet formation have made the first-ever detection of gas in a circumplanetary disk. What’s more, the detection also suggests the presence of a very young exoplanet. The results of the research were published on July 27 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Circumplanetary disks are an accumulation of gas, dust, and debris around young planets. These disks contain the material that may form moons and other small, rocky objects, and control the growth of young, giant planets. Analyzing these disks in their earliest stages may help shed light on the formation of our own Solar System, including that of

While studying AS 209 — a young star located approximately 395 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus — astronomers observed a blob of emitted light in the middle of an otherwise empty gap in the gas surrounding the star. That led to the detection of the circumplanetary disk surrounding a potential Jupiter-mass planet.

Researchers are closely watching the system, both because of the planet’s distance from its star and the star’s age. The

Star AS 209

AS 209 is a young star in the Ophiuchus constellation that scientists have now determined is host to what may be one of the youngest exoplanets ever. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), A. Sierra (U. Chile)

What is AS 209?

AS 209 is a young star located around 395 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus. The star system has been of interest to scientists working in the ALMA MAPS — Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales — collaboration for more than five years due to the presence of seven nested rings, which researchers believed to be associated with ongoing planet formation. The new results provide additional evidence of planet formation around the young star.

Circumplanetary Disk PDS 70

Artist impression of the circumplanetary disk discovered in 2021 around a young planet in the PDS 70 star system. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), S. Dagnello (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

The Discovery at AS 209 is Only the Third Confirmed Detection Ever of a Circumplanetary Disk

Astronomers have long suspected the presence of circumplanetary disks around exoplanets, but until recently were unable to prove it. In 2019, ALMA scientists made the first-ever detection of a circumplanetary, moon-forming disk while observing the young exoplanet PDS 70c, and confirmed the find in 2021. The new observations of gas in a circumplanetary disk at AS 209 may reveal additional details about the development of planetary atmospheres and the processes by which moons are formed.

Reference: “Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales (MAPS): A Circumplanetary Disk Candidate in Molecular-line Emission in the AS 209 Disk” by Jaehan Bae, Richard Teague, Sean M. Andrews, Myriam Benisty, Stefano Facchini, Maria Galloway-Sprietsma, Ryan A. Loomis, Yuri Aikawa, Felipe Alarcón, Edwin Bergin, Jennifer B. Bergner, Alice S. Booth, Gianni Cataldi, L. Ilsedore Cleeves, Ian Czekala, Viviana V. Guzmán, Jane Huang, John D. Ilee, Nicolas T. Kurtovic, Charles J. Law, Romane Le Gal, Yao Liu, Feng Long, François Ménard, Karin I. Öberg, Laura M. Pérez, Chunhua Qi, Kamber R. Schwarz, Anibal Sierra, Catherine Walsh, David J. Wilner and Ke Zhang, 27 July 2022, The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ac7fa3

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