The birth of our solar system is still clouded in mystery. However, scientists believe that they can learn more by observing the formation of planetary systems similar to our own. Tomoyuki Kudo is an astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. He and his team used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observer the DM Tau star.
The DM Tau star is 470 light years away in the Turus constellation and it is estimated to be three to five million years old. The star is around half the mass of the sun.
Previous observations inferred two different models for the disk around DM Tau,” said Kudo. “Some studies suggested the radius of the ring is about where the solar system’s asteroid belt would be. Other observations put the size out where Neptune would be. Our ALMA observations provided a clear answer: both are right. DM Tau has two rings, one at each location.”
Scientists believe that there might be a formation site for a new planet similar to Neptune or Uranus. That’s because researchers discovered a bright patch in the outer link.
“We are also interested in seeing the details in the inner region of the disk, because the Earth formed in such an area around the young sun,” commented Jun Hashimoto, a researcher at the Astrobiology Center, Japan. “The distribution of dust in the inner ring around DM Tau will provide crucial information to understand the origin of planets like Earth.”
The findings of Kude and his team were published in “A Spatially Resolved au-scale Inner Disk around DM Tau” in the Astrophysical Journal which appeared back in November 2018. The results were presented at the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of Japan which takes place this month.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.