Could this be the life that is brewing to challenge us? Well, not really.
Jokes aside, the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has photographed two planets latched around a Sun-like star.
This is the first time astronomers have directly photographed a cosmic system that resembles our Solar system, which is 300 light-years away from Earth, according to the new study and is in a very young stage of evolution, the European Southern Observatory says in a statement.
Like our Solar system, in the center of the new cosmic body, it has a star that is reportedly a 17-million-years old star called the ‘TYC 8998-760-1,’ which has been described as “a very young version of our own Sun.”
This image, captured by the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shows the star TYC 8998-760-1 accompanied by two giant exoplanets, TYC 8998-760-1b and TYC 8998-760-1c. This is the first time astronomers have directly observed more than one planet orbiting a star (multiplanet system) similar to the Sun. The two planets are visible as two bright dots in the center (TYC 8998-760-1b) and bottom right (TYC 8998-760-1c) of the frame, noted by arrows. Other bright dots, which are background stars, are visible in the image as well. By taking different images at different times, the team was able to distinguish the planets from the background stars. The image was captured by blocking the light from the young, Sun-like star (top-left of center) using a coronagraph, which allows for the fainter planets to be detected. The bright and dark rings we see on the star’s image are optical artifacts. (Image courtesy: ESO/Bohn et al.)
Two planets have been identified to be revolving around the star called ‘TYC 8998-760-1b’ and ‘TYC 8998-760-1c.’ One of these two plants was already known to science, but one is a new finding, according to an official statement.
Scientists are yet to conclude if the two worlds emerged they’re from the cosmic push or formed in the system itself. The distance between the two gas giants revolving around their host star is 160 and about 320 times the Earth-Sun distance.
“This discovery is a snapshot of an environment that is very similar to our solar system, but at a much earlier stage of its evolution,” lead author of the study Alexander Bohn, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said in a statement.
This image, captured by the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shows the star TYC 8998-760-1 accompanied by two giant exoplanets. This is the first time astronomers have directly observed more than one planet orbiting a star similar to the Sun. The image was captured by blocking the light from the young, Sun-like star (on the top left corner) using a coronagraph, which allows for the fainter planets to be detected. The bright and dark rings we see on the star’s image are optical artifacts. The two planets are visible as two bright dots in the center and bottom right of the frame. (Image courtesy of ESO/Bohn et al.)
According to the report, prior to this groundbreaking finding, only two multi-planet systems were directly captured in the past, but none has a star resembling our star.
The researchers have also said that getting to directly capture the image of a single exoplanet is a rare occurrence, referring to the thousands of plants that have been detected in our Galaxy, but only a fraction of which has been directly imaged.
To study the apparent Solar system 300 light-years away from earth, study author Matthew Kenworthy of Leiden University used an instrument called Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research instrument of the VLT, or SPHERE, to block the star’s blinding rays and study what is around the star.
The two planets are huge, many times larger than the largest planet in our solar system Jupiter and are far-flung as compared o planets in our Solar system.
Researchers behind the observation are hoping to stick on to observing the ‘TYC 8998-760-1’ system to understand it better, using the instruments available on the ELT and others to “understanding multi-planet systems, with potential implications for the history of our own solar system,” Alexander Bohn said in a statement.
What do you think about this amazing discovery? Let us know your thoughts in the comment below.