A research team is investigating a distant planetary system and suspects it: something seems to be happening there that hasn’t been noticed before.
MADRID – More than 5,000 planets outside the solar system are known to be conducting research, in the so-called exoplanets. Until now, each of these exoplanets has its own orbit – although an interesting theory was put forward many years ago, as Olga Balsalobre-Rosa of the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid explains: “Two decades ago, it was theoretically expected that pairs of planets of similar mass in the same orbit around their star would share the so-called Trojan planets or co-orbital planets.
Now, for the first time, a research team has succeeded in finding evidence to support this idea. the The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics was published Directed by Palsaloper Rosa. With the help of the ALMA telescope, researchers have been able to detect a cloud of debris that could share an orbit with a planet. According to the research team, the debris cloud is either an already existing Trojan world or a planet in the making.
Do two planets outside the solar system share an orbit?
The term “Trojan horse” is used in astronomy to refer to rocky bodies in the same orbit as a planet. Trojan horses are common in our solar system—the 12,000 Trojan asteroids from Jupiter, for example, that NASA’s Lucy space probe is supposed to study, are well known. In astronomy, it is suspected that there may also be Trojans, especially Trojan planets, outside our solar system – the so-called Exotrojans. “Until now, extraterrestrials have been like unicorns: theoretically, they could exist, but no one has ever discovered them,” explains co-author Jorge Lillo Box of the Center for Astrobiology in One. communication.
Who can imagine two worlds sharing year length and housing conditions? Our work is the first evidence that this kind of world can exist.
The debris cloud discovered by the research team is located in the PDS 70 system, which consists of a young star and two giant Jupiter-like planets (PDS 70b and PDS 70c). In orbit of PDS 70b, researchers detected the debris cloud, which has roughly the mass of Earth’s moon.
Exotrojan likely to be discovered in space
Who can imagine two worlds sharing year length and housing conditions? Our work is the first evidence that this type of world can exist,” says Palsaloper-Rosa. “We can imagine a planet sharing an orbit with thousands of asteroids, as in the case of Jupiter, but it baffles me that planets could share an orbit.”
Nuria Huilamo, study co-author and researcher at the Center for Astrobiology, confirms: “Our research is the first step in the search for co-orbiting planets at a very early stage in their evolution. Itziar de Gregorio Monsalvo of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) was also involved in the investigation and adds: “This raises new questions about the origin of Trojans, how they evolve and how common they are in different planetary systems.”
The research team plans to continue using the ALMA telescope to study the debris cloud in the PDS 70 system and see if PDS 70b and the debris cloud are moving significantly in their combined orbit around the star. “This would be a breakthrough in the field of exoplanets,” Balsallubri-Rosa confirms. (unpaid bill)
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