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A space telescope discovers clues about how the Earth once formed

A space telescope discovers clues about how the Earth once formed

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Planets form in disks of material surrounding young stars. But what exactly happens there? A space telescope has now observed an important mechanism.

Washington, D.C. – The research has relatively well-developed theory, How do planets form?. Thanks to the James Webb Telescope (JWST), researchers can now confirm an important part of this theory. The James Webb Space Telescope has observed large amounts of cold water vapor in the inner region of protoplanetary disks. Experts conclude that the icy rocks migrating inward from the outer regions of the disk are the “nuclei of the planet’s formation.”

To understand how research came to this, you need to know the existing theory about planetary formation. Everything is connected to the so-called protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star. It consists of rocks of different sizes orbiting the star. Pieces in the far outer area of ​​the disc are frozen. These icicles slowly migrate inward toward the star due to friction in the gas disk.

The James Webb Space Telescope looked at the protoplanetary disks of many stars to learn more about how planets form. (Technical impression) © NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

The James Webb Space Telescope monitors planetary formation

If pieces of frozen rock migrate above the so-called “snow line” and move to areas where the weather is warm, their ice escalates into water vapor and releases large amounts of it. This is exactly what was observed by the Large Space Telescope operated by NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency.

“Webb finally discovered the relationship between water vapor in the inner disk and ice chunks drifting from the outer disk,” says study leader Andrea Panzati of Texas State University. “This discovery opens up exciting prospects for studying the formation of rocky planets using WEB.”

View of the universe: Planets form in a protoplanetary disk

recalls his co-author Colette Salek (Vassar College) in one notice We’ve had a “very consistent picture of planet formation” for a long time. “It’s as if there were isolated regions from which planets formed,” she explains. The researcher continues: “Now we already have evidence that these regions can interact with each other. This is something that is also said to have happened in our solar system.

The results of the study were In the specialized magazine Astrophysical Journal Letters published. (unpaid bill)