ALMA spies a new planetary nursery

Eso_potw1827a_1024

eso_potw1827a July 2nd, 2018

Credit: ESO/R. Dong et al.; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

This image from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) shows MWC 758, a young star that is approaching adulthood and surrounded by knotty, irregular rings of cosmic dust, three of which can be seen here. Unusually, these rings are elliptical in shape rather than being perfectly circular making this the first discovery of an intrinsically elliptical protoplanetary disc with ALMA! The outer and inner rings each contain one particularly bright clump, visible as arcs of yellow. Additionally there appear to be spiral arms traced out within the dust, as well as a core dust-free cavity that is slightly off-centre. These are all features that hint at the presence of unseen planets. As planets form, they gravitationally interact with the disc and create various telltale features and structures. Astronomers can thus observe a system like MWC 758 and not only infer the existence of potential hidden planets, but also estimate their masses, locations, and orbits. This is a wonderful example of the planet-finding power of ALMA. Using the observatory to study such dusty discs allows scientists to investigate the very first stages of planet formation in a bid to understand how these infant systems form and evolve. Learning more about planetary systems throughout the cosmos may help us know more about how the Solar System formed, and how it evolved to become the cosmic home we live in today.

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1827a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
MWC 758
Subject - Milky Way
Star > Circumstellar Material > Disk > Protoplanetary
Eso_potw1827a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 5h 30m 27.5s
DEC = 25° 19’ 56.6”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Taurus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_orange Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Band 7) Millimeter (344 GHz) 870.0 µm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_orange
Eso_potw1827a_1280
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ID
potw1827a
Subject Category
B.3.7.2.1  
Subject Name
MWC 758
Credits
ESO/R. Dong et al.; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)
Release Date
2018-07-02T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw1827a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Instrument
Band 7
Color Assignment
Orange
Band
Millimeter
Bandpass
344 GHz
Central Wavelength
870000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
82.614723797, 25.3323905147
Reference Dimension
850.0, 850.0
Reference Pixel
425.0, 425.5
Scale
-5.5198082268e-07, 5.5198082268e-07
Rotation
-0
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw1827a
Metadata Date
2018-07-02T17:14:24.544924
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.