Twin exoplanets look alike, act alike … but have completely different origins

Twin exoplanets look alike, act alike … but have completely different origins

The exoplanets that scientists have recognized up to now are a fairly eclectic bunch — which is why astronomers had been shocked after they realized newly noticed planet regarded awfully acquainted.

The newfound planet and its obvious twin had been each found by direct imaging, a difficult methodology that has, till now, recognized solely very distinctive worlds. So, when the newly found “doppelganger” planet, referred to as 2MASS 0249 c, appeared, with the identical measurement, brightness and spectral options as a widely known planet referred to as beta Pictoris b, scientists wished to determine what connection the 2 worlds may have.

And that is the place the image will get much more difficult, as a result of the crew’s investigations, printed in a brand new paper, recommend the planets had been born in the identical neighborhood but by very different processes.

“To date, exoplanets found by direct imaging have basically been individuals, each distinct from the other in their appearance and age,” Michael Liu, an astronomer on the University of Hawaii and co-author of the brand new analysis, said in a statement. “Finding two exoplanets with almost identical appearances and yet having formed so differently opens a new window for understanding these objects.”

Scientists have now pieced collectively an image for these two seemingly similar planets. Beta Pictoris b’s delivery appears to have been run-of-the-mill for a fuel large. This planet shaped close to a star 10 instances brighter than our solar at concerning the distance of Saturn from our solar, and it shaped by grabbing fuel from its star’s disk and clumping that materials round a rocky coronary heart.

But 2MASS 0249 c’s delivery performed out very otherwise. It orbits two small, faint brown dwarfs at a distance about 2,000 instances that from the Earth to the solar. Those brown dwarfs, in contrast to beta Pictoris, weren’t surrounded by a lot fuel or mud, so their new planet could not have shaped by vacuuming up the stellar disk.

Instead, it “looks like an underweight brown dwarf that formed from the collapse of a gas cloud,” University of Arizona astronomer and examine co-author Kaitlin Kratter stated within the assertion. “They’re both considered exoplanets, but 2MASS 0249 c illustrates that such a simple classification can obscure a complicated reality.”

The analysis is described in a brand new paper accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal and posted to the preprint web site

The crew stated it hopes that 2MASS 0249 c’s large distance from its faint host stars might make the planet simpler to check, as a result of it will not be blotted out by the large quantity of sunshine coming from a close-by star.

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