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Space & Astronomy

Mysterious star system with spiral arms may be home to a hidden planet

By T.K. Randall
July 16, 2023 · Comment icon 5 comments

Why does this star system look like a galaxy ? Image Credit: ESO
A new study has revealed details of an enigmatic star system that looks suspiciously like a spiral galaxy.
You'd certainly be forgiven for thinking that the above image shows a distant spiral galaxy, but this is in fact a star system situated some 500 million light-years from Earth.

Astronomers now believe that its spiral-like arms, which are formed from the protoplanetary disc of gas, dust and rocks left over from the star's formation, are indicative of a hidden planet.

Dubbed MWC 758c, this unseen world would need to be pretty big - twice the size of Jupiter - in order to have the gravitational heft to shape the disc into such a distinctive shape.
The planet's existence couldn't be determined when the star system was discovered back in 2013 and it wasn't until astronomers could observe it using the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer in Arizona more recently that it was possible to find out for sure that it was there.

It will take the James Webb Space Telescope, however, to fully confirm their observations.

"Depending on the results that come from the JWST observations, we can begin to apply this newfound knowledge to other stellar systems, and that will allow us to make predictions about where other hidden planets might be lurking," said study lead author Kevin Wagner.

Source: Live Science | Comments (5)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Nosy.Matters 5 months ago
Lightyears.. ? *heh! *, I can't even wrap my head around that, what is that distance ? It seems unimaginable, not like it's 500 Million Kilometers; like what is even a tiny, very tiny 1 million light years if it only takes about 8 minutes for sun light to reach the earth?              --- Thanks for the post , Nosy
Comment icon #2 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 5 months ago
Hi Nosy. A light year is about 5.9 Trillion miles. Yup, it's a long ways out there  And it looked pretty cool
Comment icon #3 Posted by Nosy.Matters 5 months ago
Okay, sssshew about 6 Trillion MILES ! well that clears the mud a bit. OMG!!!! and that's only 1 Lightyear.   Okay, thanks for the clarity Earl.  Still seems an ungodly unimaginable long way out especially if we're talking the speed of light, but slow as in it would take A TRILLION OR BILLION YEARS whateeeeeeever! to get there and that makes it even sound even farther out there. No reply necessary, as I NOW ! know --it's like an almost incalculable, unfathomable distance out to it.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 5 months ago
That's cool, Nosy, no problem. The answer is best left in scientific notation, but we can have both ways. Ok, we have 500 Million light years, 500,000,000 LY's x 5.9 Trillion miles/LY =  500,000,000 x 5,900,000,000,000 miles  =  29,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles or in scientific notation, 2.95 x 1022  miles, Now for a name: 29 Sextillion 500 Quintillion.  And we're done    
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nosy.Matters 5 months ago
JebediahJAHjeebuss!!!!/CRIPES!!!!!!!!! ---pure cake. Concerning:  "      . .    29,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles or in scientific notation, 2.95 x 1022  miles, Now for a name: 29 Sextillion 500 Quintillion.  " Well ----at least we can see it, that's a plus. Thanks Cards guy,, Full Trump guy . . .brb, EARL of trumps.         --Nosy

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