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Major space breakthrough: Astronomers spot giant icy planet around nearby star


A new discovery which may pave more understanding about the origins of various types of planets has surfaced as astronomers under the leadership of Takashi Tsukagoshi of Ibaraki University have spotted signs of an icy baby planet giant around a nearby star. The researchers found the icy world around the star TW Hydrae, with the help of Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) in Chile.

Scientists believe that the newly found planet’s structure is similar to Neptune and Uranus. They made this conclusion after analysing distribution of tiny dust grains and the distance from the central star. As per the researchers, the newly found planets outside our solar system have a wide variety of characteristics. They are still unclear how this diversity emerges in these space bodies.

Earlier, many observations on Hydrae showed that it is surrounded by a disc of tiny particles. Recent studies show multiple gaps in the disc, and researchers believe that this is the center point of planet formation. As per planetary theories proposed by experts in this arena, these gaps are clear cut evidence of planet formation.

Astronomers have calculated the mass of this newly found planet after considering the width and depth of the gap. The calculation hints that this baby giant is little heavier than our Neptune.

“Combined with the orbit size and the brightness of TW Hydrae, the planet would be an icy giant planet like Neptune”, said Takashi as per a report which came in the Daily News and Analysis.

TW Hydrae is one of the youngest stars which lies near to Earth. The star is expected to be nearly 10 million years old. This star gives a face-on-view on the developing planetary systems, and due to the proximity and axis of rotation points, scientists consider TW Hydrae as the most suitable target for planet formation study.

More studies will be conducted on this star and planet in the coming days.

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