Two rings of gas could hide a new planetary system

The rings surrounding the young star HD 100546 remain joined by a rod-shaped structure.

An international team led by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) has discovered for the first time a jet in the young star HD 100546, 7 million years old. The star, which is still in full training period, is surrounded by two concentric rings of gas and dust around the star. The jet found is located in the hole or gap that separates both rings, and could indicate the presence of planets not yet detected. The study has just been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The presence of gaps in the gas and dust discs surrounding young stars is relatively frequent. It is believed that these holes within the disk are due to the planets, in their formative period, absorbing all kinds of materials, dragging them and incorporating them into their mass through their orbits. The novelty is that the ring closest to HD 100546 could be fed through a stream of material that starts from the outer ring and joins the inner ring in a kind of umbilical cord: “The tests indicate that the bar is real and the most plausible thing is that it is a stream of material that goes from the external disk to the internal one through the gap “, declares Ignacio Mendigutia, researcher of the CSIC in the Center of Astrobiology.

In recent years some similar streams of material had been detected in cases of binary or multiple stars, which are responsible for producing these radial interactions in the form of a jet, but, however, they had never before been observed in isolated stars and at such scales. little.

“They have been previously observed only in 3 other young systems, however, in these jets, the spatial scales are much larger and always refer to binary stars.” If this new jet is confirmed, the novelty would be that it is comparatively small and associated with a star. simple, because nobody has detected a companion HD 100546 “, says Mendigutia.

The existence of a jet in HD 100546 was previously proposed by this same research group, although they lacked direct observations to support this hypothesis. Since the rate of growth of the central star is relatively high, and that it grows from the scarce material available in the internal disk, this disc should be fed in some way. Based on theoretical models that predict the presence of jets in young stars, the researchers proposed that one of them could be present in HD 100546, which the new observations seem to confirm.

In addition, those same theoretical models predict the presence of planets in formation along the jets. “The planets in formation, through their gravitational interaction, must produce a transfer of material from the outside to the inside of the disk through the gap.” According to the theoretical models, the presence of a stream of material in HD 100546 would indicate that there are planets, not yet detected, along the same “concludes Mendigutia.

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