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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Photographed Evidence of Jupiter-Like Protoplanet Forming Through “Intense and Violent Process”.

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Photographed Evidence of Jupiter-Like Protoplanet Forming Through “Intense and Violent Process”.
This is an artist’s impression of a massive, newly forming exoplanet called AB Aurigae b. Researchers used new and archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Subaru Telescope to confirm this protoplanet is forming through an intense and violent process, called disk instability. Disk instability is a top-down approach, much different from the dominant core accretion model. In this scenario, a massive disk around a star cools, and gravity causes the disk to rapidly break up into one or more planet-mass fragments. AB Aurigae b is estimated to be about nine times more massive than Jupiter and orbits its host star over two times farther than Pluto is from our Sun.

Researchers informed the formation of Jupiter-like protoplanet through an intense and violent process. The Hubble photographed the evidence of the formation. This discovery has supposedly caused the ‘long-debated’ theory of how Jupiter like planets have formed, called “disk instability”

“Nature is clever; it can produce planets in a range of different ways,” said Thayne Currie of the Subaru Telescope and Eureka Scientific, the lead researcher on the study.

The newly forming planet, called AB Aurigae b, is probably about nine times more massive than Jupiter and orbits its host star at a whopping distance of 8.6 billion miles – over two times farther than Pluto is from our Sun. At that distance, it would take a very long time, if ever, for a Jupiter-sized planet to form by core accretion. This leads researchers to conclude that the disk instability has enabled this planet to form at such a great distance. And, it is in striking contrast to expectations of planet formation by the widely accepted core accretion model- says NASA.

hubble ab aurigae b protoplanet image NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Photographed Evidence of Jupiter-Like Protoplanet Forming Through “Intense and Violent Process”.
Researchers were able to directly image newly forming exoplanet AB Aurigae b over a 13-year span using Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and its Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph (NICMOS). In the top right, Hubble’s NICMOS image captured in 2007 shows AB Aurigae b in a due south position compared to its host star, which is covered by the instrument’s coronagraph. The image captured in 2021 by STIS shows the protoplanet has moved in a counterclockwise motion over time.
Credits: Science: NASA, ESA, Thayne Currie (Subaru Telescope, Eureka Scientific Inc.); Image Processing: Thayne Currie (Subaru Telescope, Eureka Scientific Inc.), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

“Interpreting this system is extremely challenging. This is one of the reasons why we needed Hubble for this project – a clean image to better separate the light from the disk and any planet.”- Thayne Currie, lead researcher on the study.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.- States NASA.

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