Puzzling Star That Is Forming Like a Planet Spotted By Astronomers

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In the massive disk of dust and gas that surrounds a giant star, astronomers spotted some bizarre celestial object they believed it was a planet. However, it was a puzzling star that is forming like a planet. The primary subject of investigation, the massive star dubbed as MM 1a is a young star which is encircled by a disk of gas and dust.

The astronomers noticed a faint space object in the disk that orbits around MM 1a, as reported by the scientists in their study’s paper, issued in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

“Stars form within large clouds of gas and dust in interstellar space. When these clouds collapse under gravity, they begin to rotate faster, forming a disc around them. In low mass stars like our Sun, it is in these discs that planets can form. In this case, the star and disc we have observed are so massive that, rather than witnessing a planet forming in the disc, we are seeing another star being born,” said John Ilee from the University of Leeds.

Puzzling Star That Is Forming Like a Planet Spotted By Astronomers

The scientists calculated the amount of radiation that the dust in the disk surrounding MM 1a star emits. Also, the astronomers registered some subtle shifts in the light of the gas. Using these measurements, researchers managed to calculate the mass of both MM 1a and MM 1b space objects.

“Many older massive stars are found with nearby companions. But binary stars are often very equal in mass, and so likely formed together as siblings. Finding a young binary system with a mass ratio of 80:1 is very unusual, and suggests an entirely different formation process for both objects,” John Ilee, the study’s leading author, added.

The astronomers made these observations thanks to the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA Radio Telescope) in the Chilean Desert.

Vadim Ioan Caraiman

With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.


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