More than 4.5 billion years ago, our solar system looked very different from what it is today. At that time, a giant cloud of gas and dust collapsed to give birth to our Sun. Around the young star, there were dusty discs from which the planets began to emerge. A new research on T Tauri Stars, allowed astronomers to picture how the appearance of the young solar system might have looked like billions of years ago and help them understand the formation of planets.
The SPHERE instrument, located in the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of Chile, has achieved a spectacular catalog of images that show, in greater detail than ever, the discs that form around young stars.
The catalog with the images obtained by SPHERE offers us a better understanding of the T Tauri stars. These stars have a mass similar to that of our Sun and a variable brightness. In addition, they are very young stars of less than ten million years old.
The T Tauri stars’ early age makes them be surrounded by dusty discs, like those that our solar system could have presented about 4.5 billion years ago during the formation of planets.
The recently studied dusty discs could offer clues on the formation of planets
The before-mentioned dusty discs are made of gas, dust, and planetesimals, which are the very foundations from which planets like Earth are formed.
The objects portrayed by the VLT are located at a distance between 230 and 550 light years away from us, which, in astronomy, means relative proximity, taking into account that Milky Way has a diameter of approximately 100,000 light years, according to NASA.
In recent years, astronomers were able to examine the complex processes of formation of planets around stars. The concentric rings that originate around stars such as the Sun have the necessary ingredients for the birth and, subsequently, the development of celestial bodies such as Earth, although we still do not know exactly what happens inside those discs.
Many of the scientists’ theories on the origin of these planetary systems are mere hypotheses that must be corroborated with studies like this recent one on the T Tauri stars surrounded by dusty discs. Only then it will be possible to confirm the theories and, ultimately, to understand the formation of planets around stars and, subsequently, to find more about the history of the universe and our own solar system.