About 500 light years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus is a very strange planetary system CI Tau. Astronomers at Cambridge University have found in it four huge gas giant, comparable to our Jupiter and Saturn. What makes it weird, you ask? The fact is, the star system is very young. Her age according to scientists is only about 2 million years. The presence of such a large number of gas giants in such a young system is contrary to all known laws of space. Scientists have shared about their discovery in the journal the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The system study was conducted using “Atkarskoy a large antenna array of millimeter range” (ALMA) located in Chile’s Atacama desert. Scientists have found that the smallest object system comparable to Saturn, and the largest is 11 times larger than Jupiter. In this case the orbit of each planet was located very far from each other. The furthest planet of the system are located in the thousands of times farther from the star than the closest to her. According to astronomers, they are faced with this picture for the first time. For example, Pluto is only 102 times farther from the Sun than mercury.
The orbital period of the largest and nearest to the star, the planet which scientists call a “hot Jupiter”, is only in 9 days. A little further from the first planet located a second, smaller, the size of Jupiter, then through a larger interval – two gas giant the size of Saturn.
The presence of so many planets of this type did not fit into the cosmological model, according to which gas giants cannot arise in close proximity to stars, as gravity, radiation, and stellar wind will prevent the formation of the protoplanetary disk. And yet scientists say that such objects do occur, though extremely rare. They were in orbit about one per cent of the known stars. The catch is that all these stars were hundreds of times older than CI Tau, and the planet met on one piece, and there are four of them!
“Model of planetary formation, as a rule, based on the possibility of their types, which were observed previously. In this regard, the new discoveries do not necessarily correspond to the models,” says Cambridge University Professor Cathy Clark.
“For example, planets, comparable in size to Saturn, are formed first formed a solid core, and then formed around the layer of gas,” adds the scientist.
According to Clark, typically, these processes occur very slowly (it is believed that it takes at least 10 million years) due to the large distance from the cosmic body to the parent star.
Scientists can not yet explain how the system age only 2 million years could appear as gas giants, but still separated so far from each other. It is possible to further surveillance and similar systems will allow to shed light on this question.
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