Astronomers spot 1st moon-forming disk around an alien world
Astronomers have discovered the first disk surrounding a planet outside the solar system.
The impressive circumplanetary disk is about 500 times larger than Saturn's rings and encircles a Jupiter-like planet dubbed PDS 70c. Scientists have seen plenty of disks surrounding distant stars, and moon-forming disks around planets like this have been suspected before, but this is the first time such a system has been definitively identified, according to the researchers.
"Our work presents a clear detection of a disk in which satellites could be forming," Myriam Benisty, study lead author, an astronomer at the University of Grenoble and the University of Chile said in a statement.
Related: With all these planets, why haven't we found any exomoons?
PDS 70c is one of two young gas giants located approximately 400 light-years away from Earth. This world and its counterpart, PDS 70b, are still in the early stages of formation and provide a unique research opportunity to study planets and moons in their infancy.
"More than 4,000 exoplanets have been found until now, but all of them were detected in mature systems," …
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