A cloud of dust and gas swirling around a galaxy system 1,300 light-years away is like a planetary disk we haven’t seen yet. It consists of three rings, wrapped around three stars – and all three rings have different trends, which are incorrectly placed internally from the other two.
This is the first direct evidence that such a misunderstanding – called ‘disc tearing’, and predicted in modeling – can occur in the wild.
However, although the Atacama Large Millimeter-Submmillimeter Array (ALMA) has performed the most detailed inspection of the system so far, it is still unclear how the disk was torn.
The system, called GW Orionis, is located about 1,300 light-years away in the Orion Wire. It consists of two stars that are encircled in a circle around each other at a distance of one Astronomical unit (Distance between Earth and Sun), the third star is orbiting the pair at a distance of eight astronomical units.
Around the three stars, huge protoplanetary clouds of dust and gas debris are located at distances of 46, 185 and 340 astronomical units from the center of the system.
The outer ring is the largest we have ever seen in a protoplanetary system; For comparison, Pluto’s distance from the Sun is 39.5 astronomical units.
Protoplanetary discs, as the name implies, are the materials from which planets form around stars. First, the star needs to grow and grow in a good nursery. A mass of matter in a protostellar cloud. The gravitational collap disappears, and begins to spin. It feeds the growing star which spools a huge disk of gas and dust.
When this formation process is complete, the residual material in the disk begins to accumulate and eventually become a planet and other minor bodies. Therefore, in planetary systems such as our solar system, the planets and rock belts revolve in the equatorial region of the stars along a flat plane or with less wire.
Many stellar systems, however, are often mistaken for planetary orbits. Studying protoplanetary discs around multiple star systems can help us understand how this illusion occurs.
Strange misunderstandings in the protoplanetary disc in GW Orionis were first discovered in an ALMA inspection in 2017.
“We were shocked to see the severe misuse of the inner ring.” Astronomer Jiaking b Of Victoria University in Canada. “But the strange-poor stress in the disc is confirmed by a reversal pattern measured by the ALMA in the disc’s gas.”
A second team of astronomers also made close observations using both ALMA and the European Southern Observatory’s giant telescope.
“In our pictures, we see the shadow of the inner ring on the outer disk.” Said astronomer Stephen Cross University of Exeter in the UK.
“At the same time, the LMA allows us to measure the exact shape of the ring that casts the shadow. Combining this information allows us to obtain a three-dimensional orientation of the surface of the incorrectly marked ring and sharp disc.”
Fortunately, although this illusion was only recently discovered, GW Orionis has been under surveillance since 2008, and was the third star in the system. Found in 2011. It gave researchers many years of data to restructure the system’s data rabbits.
Using a 3D computer simulation of the system, Cross and his team found that the gravitational effects associated with the stars from different planes were capable of producing the disk cleavage observed in GW Orionis.
But B and his team found that the gravitational effect of stellar or rebital shenanigans is not enough in itself to be visible as a result.
“Our simulations show that the triple star alone cannot seriously explain the large illusion. We think the existence of a planet between these rings is needed to explain why the disks were torn.” Said astronomer Nanke van der Merrell Of Victoria University.
“This planet has probably created a dust gap and broken the disk in place of the existing inner and outer rings.”
If there was such a planet, it would be the first time we’ve ever seen a three-star orbit – but of course, it’s too early to claim. Future inspections of the system are in the pipeline to solve and solve this fascinating puzzle.