The star TYC 8998-760-1 develops similarly to our Sun, but is much younger. Now researchers have taken a picture of it for the first time. Two exoplanets can also be seen in this image.
Astronomers have for the first time taken a picture of a special planetary system 300 light years away. Using a telescope of the European Southern Observatory (Eso), they have succeeded in imaging the star with the designation TYC 8998-760-1 and its planets.
Link to the research on: “The Astrophysical Journal Letters“.
The scientists hope that the recording will also provide insights into how the planets around our Sun were formed.
“This discovery is a snapshot of an environment very similar to our solar system, but at a much earlier stage of its evolution,” said research director Alexander Bohn of Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Is it possible to photograph a planet orbiting around another star?
Direct images of two or more planets orbiting a star are very rare, according to the scientists. So far, only two systems have been recorded in which the star differs greatly from our Sun.
A new discovery joins an exclusive club: those that have been directly imaged.
TYC 8998-760-1 b is a giant, somewhere between a large planet and a failed star. What does it look like from 300 light-years away? Check out the small dot with an arrow below! https://t.co/iBXZpV1ny8 pic.twitter.com/zwX5uG0s53
— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) May 19, 2020
Star tyc 8998-760-1
A team from the American space agency NASA had already posted an image of the newly photographed star and its two planets on Twitter in May. Images of distant suns and planets are usually still being edited.
The star TYC 8998-760-1 is only 17 million years old and lies in the southern constellation Musca, the researchers report. Bohn calls it a “very young version of our own sun“. Using the Eso-Telescope VLT in the Chilean Atacama Desert, the team was able to block the star’s brighter light and thus make the planets visible.
The two gas giants orbit the star at a distance equal to 160 and about 320 times the distance from Earth to the Sun. They are thus even further away from their star than the gas giants Saturn and Jupiter from the Sun.
They are also significantly heavier, astronomers report. Further observations should now show whether the young planets were formed at their current location or have migrated there.