Universe

Does the stars of “old age” may have a baby planets?

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile noticed with using the VLTI instrument drive dust circulating around old celebrities double IRAS 08544-4431. For the first time, you can compare it with the previously observed around young stars. And it turned out that these structures are surprisingly similar to each other. Investigators are wondering now, whether such a disk around the old stars may give rise to the next generation.

Image was obtained with the help of the IR Very Large Telescope Interferometer-an appropriate combination of telescopes in Paranal Observatory workers in Chile, armed instrument pioneer and new, modernized RAPID detector. This configuration allowed the resolution at the arc of one millisecond (1/1000 of 1/3600 degree).

“By combining the light from several telescopes Very Large Telescope Interferometer, you obtain a picture with incredible detail-that corresponds to using a telescope with a diameter of 150 feet,” says team member, Jacques Noodle from Exeter University in the uk. “The resolution is so large that we could determine the size and shape of the coins of 1 euro, visible from a distance of two thousand kilometers away,” he added.

Astronomers know that the stars coming already to end their days around each other to form rings of gas and dust. This material, which freed up when the star went through a red giant phase. Although it has been speculated that these disks are reminiscent of the structures forming around young stars, however there was no way to directly compare. If in fact the disks around young stars are observed quite frequently, known until now the drive around the old stars close enough to Earth to look at him carefully. This problem, using the full power of VLTI, managed to get around.

This chart shows the location of the aging double star IRAS 08544-4431 in the constellation of Vela (The Sails). All stars visible to the naked eye on a dark and clear night are shown. This star is visible with a small telescope as an unremarkable single faint point of light.
This chart shows the location of the aging double star IRAS 08544-4431 in the constellation of Vela (The Sails). All stars visible to the naked eye on a dark and clear night are shown. This star is visible with a small telescope as an unremarkable single faint point of light.

A double star IRAS 08544-4431 is approximately 4000 light years away from Earth, in the constellation Vela. The layout consists of a red giant and normal stars, at an earlier stage of development. Observations with the help of the VLTI showed that the surrounding disk is similar to those that surround the younger stars. If so, there is an intriguing question. If such a disk, around older stars can also be a planet? Can this be a second generation of planets? The answers to these questions, but we have to wait.