A massive HIDDEN planet could be lurking in this “dusty disk” just 500 light-years away

SCIENTISTS believe a secret planet is hiding in the dusty disk surrounding a young star.

There has already been evidence that a massive planet orbits a star called IM Lupi.

Is there a planet hiding in this star's dusty disk?


Is there a planet hiding in this star’s dusty disk?Photo credit: Adapted from Andrews et al

The strange system is more than 500 light-years away.

But experts think they finally have evidence that there really is a planet hiding inside.

The young star and its surrounding disk showed all the signs of planetary interference.

There are over a dozen “kinks”.

Here, according to AAS Nova, the gas is moving at a different speed than what experts would expect for a smoothly rotating disk.

There is also a spiral pattern embossed along the top surface of the disk.

So a group of scientists decided to look at things differently to see how the presence of a planet would affect IM Lupi’s disk.

While their findings include a planet’s signals, they say more work is needed to confirm its presence.

Harrison Verrios and his team at Monash University in Australia found that common features appeared in their simulations.

This suggests that planets may have wider impacts than predicted.

“We show that the wake of the planet can be tracked in the observed maximum velocity map, which appears to follow the morphology expected from our simulations and from analytical models of the planet-disc interaction,” read their research paper.

Their findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Chris Barrese

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