National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Direct Infrared Image of an Arm in Disk Demonstrates Transition to Planet Formation

| Science

An international team of astronomers led by Satoshi Mayama (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan) and Ruobing Dong (Princeton University, U.S.A.) has made observations with the Subaru Telescope and captured the first vivid infrared image of a curved arm of dust extending over a hole on a disk around a young star--2MASS J16042165-2130284 (J 1604). This feature indicates the probable existence of unseen planets within the hole. The image shows the dynamic environment in which planets may be born and gives information about constraints on the distance at which planets can form from a central star.

[Figure] Artist’s rendition of the protoplanetary disk around J 1604 (Credit: The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)