Scientists from Harvard, the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have developed a new way to detect these elusive newborn planets hidden in the fog of the star disk.
For their research, scientists used new data from the ALMA telescope for the LkCa 15 Protoplane Disc. It is located in the constellation of Telz in 518 light years from Earth. Previous observations showed that planets are actively forming in this field.
In a new study, scientists pointed out that about 42 astronomical units from the star form a dust ring with two separate and bright clots of matter rotating inside it, the first of which resembled a small lump and the second a large arc. Two areas with a material concentration shared approximately 120 degrees of orbit.
The researchers have concluded that this separation is not an accident; the clot itself does not resemble the planet, but the two sites where the material accumulates are similar to Lagrangian points L4 and L5. Let us recall that Lagrangian dots refer to points in the system of two bodies where an object with a negligible low mass in the absence of other forces remains unmoved in relation to these two bodies.
Although the planet itself cannot be seen because of the large amount of dust, the concentration of the substance at points L4 and L5 indicates the existence of a young planet, 60° in orbit from each accumulation of dust. It is the effect of the gravity of this object and the star that produces dense clots. The calculations show that it is a planet about the size of Neptune or Saturn and one to three million years of age.
Researchers believe that a new method based on the search for dust clots divided into about 120 degrees in a protoplane disc will help to find many new young planets.