European Observatory sees birth of new planet

“SPHERE images of the AB Aurigae system (side by side).” – https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso2008/

“SPHERE images of the AB Aurigae system (side by side).” – https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso2008/

Last Wednesday, the European Southern Observatory published pictures of a young star called AB Aurigae. As expected, there is a cloud of dust still surrounding the new sun, and within that cloud, there seems to be a kind of a bulge. The ESO called it a ‘twist’. Myself, I don’t see a twist, but I’m just an amateur. Look at the picture above – you be the judge.

The European Southern Observatory is an intergovernmental organisation with 16 European members (including Switzerland and the United Kingdom) that developed some of the biggest and most advanced ground-based telescopes. Pictures above and below were taken with VLT or Very Large Telescope – an uncomplicated name for a very complex device.

From ESO’s article, we learn that AB Aurigae is 520 light years away from Earth, in the Charioteer constellation (“Auriga”). The black centre of the image is the star itself. If you look at the two photos on the top (the ones set one next to the other), you will notice that on the second one, on the lower right, there is a prominent white-yellow spot, which indicates a place with denser matter – where a new planet could be forming.

SPHERE image of the disc around AB Aurigae
SPHERE image of the disc around AB Aurigae (https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso2008/)

Who knows, perhaps our Earth seen from a large distance still looks this way? Let us remember that we see light, and light – while fast – takes time to travel, forming an interesting relation of distance and time: when we look at a star that is 30 light years away, then, logically, we see it how it was 30 years ago. So, if someone had such advanced technology to see Earth from as far as 4.5 billion light years away (big distance – many galaxies away), would they see Earth also as such little bulge of light?

The ESO’s website is a good place to go to find some good and interesting news, for everyone that is curious of the world and, of course, those that are tired of what we have been seeing in media all that time for the past several months. The official address is https://www.eso.org/public/.

Source for this article: https://www.eso.org/public/news/eso2008/.
Diving into an actual academic papers is always the best way to learn! Link: https://www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso2008/eso2008a.pdf

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