Astronomers have seen much evidence of planet formation in young stars. However, even with a number of them already observed, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Now a new discovery shows that a young star has rings that indicate planet formation.
A distant star has been seen by researchers to have three rings around it. The rings have spaces between them. These spaces are thought to be where planets could form and where dust and gas could possibly condense together.
The rings around HD 163296 do not have dust. That indicates that the dust have been used to form planets, as observed by Rice University astronomer Andrea Isella. In his observation, she said that the inner gap is mysterious. While the dust in it is absent, there is still much gas left there.
As more such discoveries of planet formation are being seen, astronomers are learning more about. It has just been 20 years since the first discovery of planet formation, according to the Rice University News and Media site. Now there are thousands that have been seen to have planets forming around stars.
HD 163296 is just one of the many stars that have planets forming around it. The rings around it have one percent dust and the rest are made up of gases. Isella said that looking at the rings by itself will not show what is happening. Careful observation though on the interaction between dust and gases would determine if planets are being formed, he noted.
The rings around the star are far from it. The outer rings are said to be around 100 to 160 astronomical units from the star, as Phys Org reports. That distance is much farther than other rings found in other stars. The inner ring is much closer, at 60 astronomical units. One astronomical unit equals the distance of the Earth from the Sun.
Research will continue on HD 163296 to learn more on the composition of the gases in the rings. This will determine what type of planets might be forming there. The research goes on for the young star that has rings that indicate planet formation. Astronomers are also looking at a super-heated gas stream coming from a young star.