SCIENCE

Here's A First: Astronomers Spot Snowline Around A Star For The First Time

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jul, 14, 2016, 07:02 PM
Universe and inflation theory
(Photo : REUTERS/Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation/Handout) A new study report shows that the universe went through an explosion of inflation that was faster than the speed of light in the initial period of its existence. This effected in a storm of exotic gravitational waves in the process.

Astronomers caught the first peek of a water snowline around a star.

Normally, the boundaries of the line reside too close to a star, so it makes it difficult for astronomers to see. However, because of a sudden burst of brightness, astronomers were able to spot the orbiting disk of debris.

A water snowline occurs during a period of time when the temperature and pressure around the star is low enough for water and ice to form. An increase of brightness in the inner portion of the disk, like what the astronomers saw, pushes a snowline out farther than normal, allowing astronomers to catch it with Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Normally, the heat from a sun-like star prevents a snowline from forming around it within a radius of three astronomical units. According to Space, beyond that point is called the snowline, where water condenses and forms a layer of ice on dust grains and other particles.

The ALMA observations came as a surprise to us," Lucas Cieza, an astronomer at Diego Portales University in Chile and the lead author of the new work, said in a statement. "Our observations were designed to image disk fragmentation, which is one of the proposed mechanisms for the formation of giant planets. We saw none of that, as the disk is probably too warm to fragment despite its very large mass. Instead, we found what looks like a ring at 40 AU. This illustrates well the transformational power of ALMA, which delivers exciting results even if they are not the ones we were looking for."

This discovery helps develop reliable planetary formation models. Astronomers believe that such bursts of light from snowlines are a part of a planet's evolution. The finding will help astronomers understand how planets throughout the universe evolve.

"The distribution of water ice around a young star is fundamental to planet formation and even the development of life on Earth," Zhaohuan Zhu, an astronomer at Princeton University and a co-author on the new work, said in the statement. "ALMA's observation sheds important light on how and where this happens in protoplanetary disks when young planets are still forming."

© 2015 Design & Trend All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

SPOTLIGHT

Latest Stories

12 Monkeys Syfy

ENTERTAINMENT Jul, 16, 2016, 01:20 PM

'12 Monkeys' Season 2 Finale Major Spoilers
facebooktwitter