In recently published research using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers announced that they had found the first clear detection of a circumplanetary, moon-forming disk surrounding the exoplanet PDS 70c — a first in astrophysics.
The circumplanetary disk, or CPD, has been seen in past research from other groups. However, due to the inability to tell the disk apart from its surrounding environment, the presence of the disk around PDS 70c could not be confirmed.
The CPD in question surrounds PDS 70c, a young exoplanet orbiting PDS 70, a 10 million-year-old K5 spectral type, low-mass T-Tauri star located 360 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus.
PDS 70c is one of two young, Jupiter-like planets currently orbiting PDS 70. Discovered in 2019 using the Very Large Telescope’s (VLT) Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE), PDS 70c is thought to have a mass of two Jupiters and orbits at a distance of 34 AU from its star. The other planet, PDS 70b, is similar in size to PDS 70c, although it orbits closer to the parent star.
Circumplanetary disks, like circumstellar disks, are the birthplaces of natural satellites such as moons and other small rocky bodies. CPDs consist ...