HD 53143’s first radio images shed new light on early development of sun-like systems – ScienceDaily

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter / submilimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers first imaged a disk of debris from the nearby star HD 53143 at millimeter wavelengths and appeared Nothing as they expected. Based on early coronographic data, scientists expected ALMA to confirm that the disk of debris was a face ring on a ring dotted with lumps of dust. Instead, the observations took a surprising turn, revealing the most complex and eccentric disk of debris ever observed. The observations were presented today at a press conference at the 240th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Pasadena, California, and will be published in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL).

HD 53143 – an approximately billion-year-old Sun-like star 59.8 light-years from Earth in the constellation Karina – was first observed with the coronograph-advanced Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 2006 and is also surrounded by debris disk – a belt of comets orbiting a star that constantly collide and grind into smaller dust and debris – which scientists previously thought was a ring with a face similar to the disk of debris around our sun, more known as the Kuiper belt.

The new observations were made on HD 53143 using ALMA’s High-Sensitivity Band 6 receivers, an observatory collaborated with the National Radio Astronomical Observatory of the US National Science Foundation (NRAO), and revealed that the stellar disk debris disk is actually highly eccentric. In ring-shaped discs of debris, the star is usually located at or near the center of the disc. But in eccentric elliptical disks, the star is in one focus of the ellipse, far from the center of the disk. This is the case with HD 53143, which has not been seen in previous coronography studies, as coronographers deliberately block starlight to see nearby objects more clearly. The star system may also contain a second disk and at least one planet.

“Scientists have never seen a disk of debris with such a complex structure. In addition to being an ellipse with a star in one focus, it probably has a second inner disk that is incorrectly aligned or inclined to the outer disk,” said Meredith McGregor, an assistant professor. The Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA) and the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences (APS) at CU Boulder and lead author of the study. “To create this structure, there must be a planet or planets in the system that gravitationally disrupt the material in the disk.”

This level of eccentricity, McGregor said, makes the HD 53143 the most eccentric debris disk ever seen, twice as eccentric as Fomalhout’s debris disk, which McGregor fully portrayed at millimeter wavelengths with ALMA in 2017. “So far we haven’t found many discs with significant eccentricity. In general, we don’t expect disks to be very eccentric unless something like a planet sculpts them and forces them to be eccentric. Without this force, orbits tend to circulate, like what we see in our own solar system. “

Importantly, McGregor notes that debris disks are more than just collections of dust and rocks in space. They are a historical record of the formation of the planet and how planetary systems evolve over time. and peek into their future. “We can’t study the formation of the Earth and the solar system directly, but we can study other systems that look similar but younger than ours. It’s a bit like looking back in time,” she said. “Debris disks are fossils of planetary formation, and this new result confirms that there is much more to learn from these systems and that knowledge can provide insight into the complex dynamics of young stellar systems similar to our own. Solar system. “

Dr Joe Pesche, NSF’s program director for ALMA, added: “We find planets everywhere we look, and these great ALMA results show us how planets form – both around other stars and in our own solar system. . This study demonstrates how astronomy works and how progress is being made by informing not only what we know about the field, but also about ourselves. “

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Materials provided by National Radio Astronomical Observatory. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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