(Mirror Daily, United States) Astronomers have recently discovered one of the most hidden secrets of the Universe. They found the oldest planet-forming disk. The space structure is the oldest on the record, and specialists are still astounded by the discovery.
The oldest planet-forming disk is located outside our solar system, which makes the future formation an exoplanet. A team of specialists and amateur scientists teamed up to discover the cosmic structure. Expert Steven Silverberg was the leader of the group.
The team of researchers tracked a circular formation of gasses which is orbiting a young star. The interaction of gasses, star dust and the star itself can lead to the formation of a new planet, as the researchers explain.
According to the new study from scientists, the planet-forming disk is orbiting a red dwarf. This means that the young star is both small and cold. It was named AWI0005x3s. The researchers are also impressed by it because it seems that the disk has been orbiting the star for a long time.
Scientists explain that such astronomic processes are rare and they are both surprised and pleased to have had the chance to study one. They say that, according to their calculations, the system of the red dwarf and its circulating disk must be about forty-five million years old. No other similar system has such a remarkable age, as most of the formations last for approximately thirty million years.
Citizen scientists had a significant contribution to the discovery. They searched the skies and analyzed data through a special program, called DiskDetective.org. The initiative from Disk Detective started two years ago, and thirty thousand scientists were members of the project. Their task was to study information from NASA and classify celestial bodies.
The process of classifying led to the tracking and identification of red dwarf AWI0005x3s and its planet-forming disk. The findings show that the young star belongs to the Carina association. All the stars in this group are about the same age, as astronomers state.
The researchers who made the discovery intend to carry out further investigations on the matter. They want to make sure that the cosmic structure is indeed as old as they suspect. If they are right, then the oldest planet-forming disk is one of the most significant findings in the field of astronomy.
The new study which describes the oldest planet-forming disk was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia
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