Wandering celestial bodies provide a glimpse into the formation of stars and planets

Asia's Tech News Daily

Wandering celestial bodies provide a glimpse into the formation of stars and planets

The nature of free-floating planets (FFPs) is still mysterious. FFPs might originate in two ways: they either form on their own, like stars, through the gravitational collapse of small clouds of gas, or they form like planets around stars and then get stripped off from their stellar systems. Until now it was hard to investigate which formation mechanism is more likely, as a large homogenous sample of FFPs was missing.

To answer this question, Nuria Miret Roig and her collaborators targeted the Upper Scorpius young stellar association to search for these elusive planets. Star associations are open star clusters in which stars are no longer gravitationally bound to each other.

“Identifying FFPs within a star cluster is a major challenge, like finding a needle in the haystack”, explains Miret Roig. “One needs eyes sensitive enough to detect the ‘needles’. Stars are relatively bright and easy to spot, whereas planets are several thousand times fainter and can only be detected with large aperture telescopes and sensitive detectors. An additional difficulty is to differentiate planets from the overwhelming multitude of field stars and background galaxies.”

The team combined a vast amount of images available in public astronomical archives with new deep wide-field observations obtained with the best infrared and optical telescopes in the world. Thereby they were able to measure the tiny motions, colors, and luminosities of tens of millions of sources. To identify associations, the team first analyzed movement patterns of the sources, known as proper motions.

The members of an association have similar proper motions, as they all originated from the same gas cloud, whereas objects unrelated to the association show random movement. After selecting possible association members by their motions, the team refined the selection by means of luminosities and colors, two characteristics that distinguish planets from stars and galaxies.

An important fraction of the images used for this study comes from the VISTA Star Formation Altas (VISIONS), a project led by Professor Joao Alves of the Department of Astrophysics of the University of Vienna. This atlas imaged in near-infrared all nearby star formation complexes identifiable from the Southern Hemisphere.

In total the team analyzed over 80 000 wide-field images taken over a span of twenty years and in addition around 100 terabytes of information. The result: 170 previously unknown FFPs, all members of the Upper Scorpius association. This is by far the largest sample of FFPs in a single association and almost doubles the total number of FFPs known to date.

“The large number of FFPs we found points to dynamical ejection from planetary systems as an important mechanism to their formation, as solely collapse from clouds would not result in so many FFPs. This result implies relatively short timescales, between 3 to 10 million years, for the formation of giant planet systems” explains Miret Roig.

Herve Bouy, principal investigator of the European project within which this study is framed, emphasizes that “the FFPs that we identified are excellent targets for follow-up studies, in particular, to study planetary atmospheres in the absence of a blinding host star. Additionally, we can study the presence of gas and dust around FFPs, in what we call ‘circumplanetary disks’, in order to shed light on their formation process.”

If the fraction of FFPs found in Upper Scorpius is similar to that of other star forming regions, there could be several billions of planets with the size of Jupiter roaming the Milky Way without a host star. This number could be even greater for Earth-mass planets since they are known to be more common than massive planets.

Research Report: “A rich population of free-floating planets in the Upper Scorpius young stellar association”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Too much heavy metal stops stars producing

Stars are giant factories that produce most of the elements in the Universe – including the elements in us, and in the Earth’s metal deposits. But what stars produce changes ... Read more »

Deciphering conditions around the Sun five million years ago

Using high-resolution data obtained from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, Wesleyan University Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield can show the conditions the Sun encountered traveling ... Read more »

Researchers Observe Massive CME on Distant, Sun-Like Star

EK Draconis illuminates an unimagined picture of how superflares may affect interplanetary space through coronal mass ejections Welcome to the New Year! While Earth celebrated 2022’s arrival with displays of ... Read more »

North Pole solar eclipse excited auroras on the other side of the world

A solar eclipse over the Arctic created changes in auroras in both of Earth’s hemispheres due to connections through the planet’s magnetic field, according to a new study. The new ... Read more »

Increased space missions risk extraterrestrial contamination

The days of the U.S.-Soviet Space Race are over, and the domain of space exploration is expanding daily to include more countries than ever before. With the advent of private ... Read more »

Planet to launch 44 SuperDove satellites on SpaceX's Falcon 9

Planet Labs PBC reports announced that the launch of their Flock 4x, consisting of 44 SuperDove satellites, will take place on Thursday, January 13th on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-3 SSO. ... Read more »

Mangata Networks announces funding for satellite edge computing network

Mangata Networks has closed a $33 million Series A round led by US-based venture capital firm Playground Global to continue its mission to transform the way the world interacts with ... Read more »

Advances in Space Transportation Systems Transforming Space Coast

From a seaside perch overlooking the hustle and bustle of ships coming and going at Port Canaveral on Florida’s east coast, Dale Ketcham reflects on decades of history with nostalgia. ... Read more »

Indian Space Agency tests cryogenic engine for its first-ever manned mission

India’s flagship human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan, has completed the design and testing phases. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch two uncrewed missions ahead of the final mission ... Read more »

Manufacturing revenues for Earth observation to grow to $76.1 billion by 2030

Euroconsult, the leading space consulting and market intelligence firm, has released its eagerly awaited ”Earth Observation Satellite Systems Market” report, providing a sweeping review analysis of the Earth Observation (EO) ... Read more »

NASA's new IXPE mission begins science operations

NASA’s newest X-ray eyes are open and ready for discovery! Having spent just over a month in space, the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) is working and already zeroing in ... Read more »

Ride into space on Vega-C secured for FLEX and Altius

A contract signed with Arianespace secures the joint launch for two satellites that will further knowledge of our home planet. Scheduled to lift off on a new class of rocket, ... Read more »

The Incredible ASIM: Distant galaxy edition

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, or ASIM for short, is a first-of-its-kind complement of instruments on the International Space Station. Dubbed the ‘space storm hunter’, ASIM measures electric events in Earth’s ... Read more »

From dust to planet: how gas giants form

Gas giants are made of a massive solid core surrounded by an even larger mass of helium and hydrogen. But even though these planets are quite common in the Universe, ... Read more »

SDSS-V robots turn their eyes to the sky

After twenty-one years of observers loading heavy aluminum plates night after night, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is now seeing the cosmos through robotic eyes. Following more than five ... Read more »

Cheops reveals a rugby ball-shaped exoplanet

ESA’s exoplanet mission Cheops has revealed that an exoplanet orbiting its host star within a day has a deformed shape more like that of a rugby ball than a sphere. ... Read more »

Advertising plays key role in satellite TV success, study shows

The pay television market in the United States was dominated by a handful of cable operators until the early 1990s with the entry of satellite TV, which has grown consistently ... Read more »

Elusive atmospheric molecule produced in a lab for the 1st time by UH

The previously elusive methanediol molecule of importance to the organic, atmospheric science and astrochemistry communities has been synthetically produced for the first time by University of Hawai?i at Manoa researchers. ... Read more »

Astroscale U.S. and Orbit Fab sign first on-orbit satellite fuel sale agreement

Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space refueling service provider and Astroscale U.S. Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. and market leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, has ... Read more »

ASU instrument captures breathtaking 'first light' images

ASU scientists and engineers building the Europa Thermal Emission Imaging System (E-THEMIS) for NASA’s Europa Clipper passed a major hurdle recently by capturing the first successful test images from this ... Read more »

Astronomers identify potential clue to reinonization of universe

About 400,000 years after the universe was created began a period called “The Epoch of Reionization.” During this time, the once hotter universe began to cool and matter clumped together, ... Read more »

Mini monster black hole could hold clues to giant's growth

The discovery of a supermassive black hole in a relatively small galaxy could help astronomers unravel the mystery surrounding how the very biggest black holes grow. Researchers used NASA’s Chandra ... Read more »

Simulated Image Shows How NASA's Roman Could Expand on Hubble's Deepest View

A team of astrophysicists has created a simulated image that shows how the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope could conduct a mega-exposure similar to but far larger than Hubble’s celebrated ... Read more »

Ocean Physics Explain Cyclones on Jupiter

Hurtling around Jupiter and its 79 moons is the Juno spacecraft, a NASA-funded satellite that sends images from the largest planet in our solar system back to researchers on Earth. ... Read more »

Gilmour Space fires up for 2022 with Australia's largest rocket engine test

Rocket engineers at Gilmour Space Technologies have greeted the new year with a successful 110-kilonewton test fire of the most powerful rocket engine ever developed in Australia. The 75-second test ... Read more »

Prestwick Spaceport Files Planning Application Notice

South Ayrshire Council has started the process of submitting a formal planning application for the Prestwick Spaceport development. The Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) is the first step in the ... Read more »

Life could be thriving in the clouds of Venus

by Eric Verbeten for WISC News Is there life on Venus? For more than a century, scientists have pondered this question. Now, there is renewed interest in Venus as a ... Read more »

How the Earth's tilt creates short, cold January days

As the Earth orbits the sun, it spins around an axis – picture a stick going through the Earth, from the North Pole to the South Pole. During the 24 ... Read more »

NASA's newest astronaut class begins training in Houston

NASA swore in 10 new astronaut candidates Monday at Johnson Space Center in Houston — six men and four women — who someday may walk on the moon or Mars. ... Read more »

Shouzhou XIII crew finishes cargo spacecraft, space station docking test

The Shenzhou XIII astronauts in China’s space station core module have completed the manual rendezvous and docking experiment with the Tianzhou 2 cargo craft, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) ... Read more »

Take-Two to buy 'Farmville' creator Zynga for $12.7 bn

Video game publisher Take-Two announced Monday it reached a deal to acquire “Farmville” creator Zynga for $12.7 billion, in a major mobile gaming push by the maker of “Grand Theft ... Read more »

Hubble sees cosmic clues in a galactic duo

This spectacular image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures the spiral galaxy NGC 105, which lies roughly 215 million light-years away in the constellation Pisces. While it looks like ... Read more »

Eccentric exoplanet discovered

Led by the University of Bern, an international research team has discovered a sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star. The discovery was also made thanks to observations performed by ... Read more »

Real-time alert system heralds new era in fast radio burst research

McGill University scientists have developed a new system for sharing the enormous amount of data being generated by the CHIME radio telescope in its search for fast radio bursts (FRBs), ... Read more »

NASA to host coverage for Webb Telescope's final unfolding

NASA will provide live coverage and host a media briefing Saturday, Jan. 8, for the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s major spacecraft deployments. Beginning no earlier than 9 ... Read more »

Loft Orbital extends production agreement with LeoStella

Loft Orbital Solutions, Inc. (Loft Orbital), a leading space infrastructure-as-a-service provider, and LeoStella, Inc., a specialized satellite constellation design and manufacturing company, have extended their production agreement to secure multiple ... Read more »

Asteroid with a refreshed surface

How did our Solar System form and evolve? Various models for the creation of our system of planets have been proposed, but the planets themselves provide unfortunately little information as ... Read more »

Arianespace consolidates leadership in commercial market with 15 Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launches in 2021

Arianespace confirmed its strong performance in 2021, with 15 successful launches – five more than in 2020 – and 305 satellites sent into orbit using its three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz ... Read more »

Debris from failed Russian rocket falls into sea near French Polynesia

The upper stage of a failed Russian Angara A5 rocket plummeted uncontrolled to Earth, crashing into open sea near French Polynesia. The U.S. 18th Space Control Squadron confirmed the 4 ... Read more »

Metaverse gets touch of reality at CES

A jacket equipped with sensors that let wearers feel hugs or even punches in virtual reality was among the innovations giving the metaverse a more realistic edge at the Consumer ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic