National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Footprints of Baby Planets Imprinted in a Gas Disk

| Science

This press release was issued by Kagoshima University on May 25, 2016.

Figure.
(left) ALMA image of the dust disk around HL Tauri. (right) HCO+ gas (blue) and dust (red) distributions in the disk around HL Tauri. The ellipses show the locations of the gaps. Original size (393KB)

A new analysis of the ALMA data for a young star HL Tauri provides yet more firm evidence of baby planets around the star. A research team led by His-Wei Yen at Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan and Professor Shigehisa Takakuwa at Kagoshima University, Japan, uncovered two gaps in the gas disk around HL Tauri. The locations of these gaps in the gas match the locations of gaps in the dust found in the ALMA high resolution image taken in 2014. This discovery supports the idea that planets form in much shorter timescales than previously thought and prompts a reconsideration of alternative planet formation scenarios.

These observation results were published as Yen et al. “Gas Gaps in the Protoplanetary Disk around the Young Protostar HL Tau” in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, issued in April 2016.

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