A recent discovery has revealed that the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HD 144432 is truly exceptional. Close proximity to its parent star offers valuable insights into the early conditions of our own solar system. Led by Josef Varga […]
A recent discovery has revealed that the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star HD 144432 is truly exceptional. Close proximity to its parent star offers valuable insights into the early conditions of our own solar system. Led by Josef Varga from the Konkoly Observatory in Budapest, an international team of astronomers investigated the young star HD 144432, located approximately 500 light-years away, and found that it possesses a complex structure within its protoplanetary disk. Instead of a typical simple ring, this young star has three concentric rings where dust accumulates.
According to Roy van Bochel from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, these rings are very close to their parent star and correspond to the zones where rocky planets like Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter formed in our own solar system. Previously, similar ring configurations in disks around young stars were mostly observed at larger distances than Saturn’s orbit around the Sun.
What makes this discovery even more interesting is the fact that astronomers have detected the dust composition in the disk up to a distance equivalent to the distance between Jupiter and the Sun. The discovered dust composition includes various silicates and minerals present in Earth’s crust, as well as the potential presence of metallic iron.
The inclusion of iron in a planet-forming disk is a significant finding, as it was previously believed that dust disks were primarily composed of carbon and silicates. This discovery sheds light on the conditions in the inner regions of protoplanetary disks and suggests that this composition may be common in the formation of planets.
In addition to HD 144432, astronomers have identified several other candidates that they wish to further study to determine if planets typically form in iron-rich dust disks close to parent stars. These findings may provide us with insights into the early stages of planet formation and help us better understand our own solar system.