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The secret of the birth of a ‘gas planet’ 9 times larger than Jupiter


<초거대 가스행성 상상도. 사진=미 항공우주국(NASA), 유럽우주국(ESA), 우주망원경연구소(STScl) 조셉 옴스테드>

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a supermassive gas planet that is forming in a new way rather than a standard model.

The ‘core accreption’ model has been proposed as a standard for large gas planets like Jupiter, which are formed by accreting gas giants ranging from dust grains to rocks by colliding and accumulating a core larger than Earth. . Examples are Jupiter or Saturn formed at 5 to 10 times the Sun-Earth distance (1 au).

A prototype of the supermassive gas planet 'AB Auriga b' orbiting around a star is visible.  Comparing photos from 2007 and 2021, we noticed that they moved counterclockwise.  Photo = NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), Subaru Telescope Observatory Thein Curry
<주별 주변으로 공전하고 있는 초거대 가스행성 ‘마차부자리 AB b’ 프로토타입이 보인다. 2007년과 2021년 사진을 비교해 시계 반대방향으로 움직인다는 사실을 알아냈다. 사진=미 항공우주국(NASA), 유럽우주국(ESA), 스바루 망원경 천문대 테인 커리>

However, recently, a research team at the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan has captured a supermassive gas planet that is forming under conditions where there are not enough planets to form a gigantic nucleus and presented it as proof of the ‘disc instability’ hypothesis. The results of this study were published in the scientific journal ‘Nature Astronomy’.

The disk instability hypothesis is a theory that it may have been formed through the process of disintegration and fragmentation of a gas disk due to gravitational instability. Simply put, it is a top-down theory that protoplanets were formed when clouds of gas were pulled together by gravity. This contradicts the nuclear accretion hypothesis, which is a bottom-up central growth model.

The gas planet discovered by Hubble is AB Auriga b, about 531 light-years from Earth. It is forming in the disk of a protoplanetary system around a young star.

This gas planet orbits the young star ‘AB Auriga’, which is only about 2 million years old, at a distance of about 13.7 billion km. The research team explains that it takes a long time to form with the standard model, nuclear accretion theory.

The supermassive gas planet 'AB Auriga b' is forming by orbiting around 'AB Aurigae' by week.  The orbital radius is twice that of Neptune's orbit (dashed line).  Photo = Subaru Observatory
<주별 ‘마차부자리 AB’를 중심으로 공전하며 형성 중인 초거대 가스행성 ‘마차부자리 AB b’. 공전 반지름은 해왕성 공전 궤도(점선)의 두 배에 이른다. 사진=스바루 천문대>

The research team led by Dr. Thein Curry came to this conclusion by comparing the appearance of AB Auriga b as seen using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. In the wake of the planet, a vortex of disk material, a phenomenon previously predicted by the disk instability hypothesis, was also observed.

“Nature is smart and can form planets in a variety of ways,” said Curry. He added, “This study was possible thanks to the Hubble Telescope, which has accumulated data for a long time.”

Reporter Seo Hee-won, Electronic Newspaper Internet (shw@etnews.com)

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