"Mystery of Blobs" – Hubble Reveals Dry and Sci-fi Planets of Red Dwarfs


Posted on January 8, 2019

AU_Microscopii Red Dwarf

Our Sun is not one of the richest star types in our Galaxy Road. This reward is received by red dwarfs, stars that are smaller and colder than our Sun. In fact, red squirrels probably contain most of the planet's population of our galaxy, which reports NASA's Hubble site, which could find tens of billions of worlds. Research by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope and other observatories have shown that rocky planets are common around these small stars. Some of these rocky worlds circulate around the settlements of several nearby red dwarfs. A moderate climate in such worlds could allow the oceans to exist on their surface, which could support life.

That's good news. The bad news is that many of these rocky planets can not hold back the water and organic substances that are needed for life, as we know it. The Earth, which emerged as a "dry" planet, has been sown with ice from comets and asteroids coming from the external solar system for hundreds of millions of years.

The red dwarfs that are smaller and brighter than our Sun are the longest living stars in the galaxy. But stony planets that circulate around red dwarfs can be bones dry and without life. Water and organic compounds that are vital for life, as we know it, can blaze before they can reach the surface of young planets.

"The earth, we know, formed a" dry ", hot, molten surface, and accumulated atmospheric water and other volatile substances for hundreds of millions of years, and it was enriched by icy materials from comets and asteroids that were transported from the external solar system. " co-researcher Glenn Schneider of the Steward Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, said.

This hypothesis is based on the surprising observations of a rapidly eroding dust and gas disk surrounding Hubble's young, near-star AU Microscopii (AU Mic) and a very large telescope (South Observatory) in Chile. Planets are born in disks such as this one.

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It seems that rapidly moving material stains eject particles from the AU Mic disc. If the disk continues to disperse with this fast pace, it will disappear for about 1.5 million years. In this short time, ice material from comets and asteroids could be removed from the disc. Comets and asteroids are important because aquatic planets such as Earth should be planted with water and organic ingredients, chemical building blocks for life. If this same transport system is needed for planets in the AU Mic system, then it can end up "dry" and dusty – unhospital for life as we know it.

Observations are led by John Wisniewski of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, consisting of 14 astronomers from the United States and Europe.

If the activity around AU Mic is characteristic of the planet-birth process between the red dwarfs, this could further reduce the chances of living worlds in our galaxy. Earlier observations suggest that a lightning ultraviolet light from young red dwarfs quickly removes the atmosphere of all planets circling around it. This star is just 23 million years old.

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Research has shown that Earth's planets are common around red dwarfs. In fact, they should contain most of the planetary populations of our galaxy, which could have tens of billions of worlds. The planets were found within the living area of ​​several nearby red dwarfs, but their physical properties are largely unknown.

Bubbles blown:

star of the red dwarf AU Microscopii

Observations of the Hubble Space Telescope Observatory (STIS) and VLT show that the microscopic microscopic disc digs through fast moving balls of star material that act as a snow plug with the push of small particles – possibly containing water and other volatile substances – from the system. Researchers still do not know how they started to grind. One theory is that powerful mass exodus from the tumultuous star expelled them. Such energy activity is common in young red dwarfs.

"These findings show that aquatic planets can be rare around red dwarfs, because all smaller bodies that transmit water and organic matter are blown off when the disc is excavated," explains Carol Grady from Eureka Scientific in Oakland, California. Hubble's observation.

Conventional theory believes that billions of years ago the Earth was formed as a relatively dry planet. Gravitational asteroids and comets, rich in water from a colder outer solar system, bombarded the Earth and planted the surface with ice and organic compounds. "However, this process may not work in all planetary systems," Grady said.

The group determined the life of the disc by using the estimated disk mass from an independent study and calculating the mass of protruding blobs in its data on the visible light of STIS. The mass of each hole is about four millionths of the Earth's mass. The mass of the disk, approximately 1.7 times larger than the Earth, is based on data recorded by Atama large millimeter / submillimeter array (ALMA).

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Although the mass of unsatisfactory blobs appears to be small, the diameter of each spot can be stretched from at least from the Sun to Jupiter. At present, the team has observed six protruding blobs, but it is possible that there is a continuous flow. Groups of pads that lean through the disk could relatively quickly remove the material.

"The quick release of the disk is not something that you would expect," Grady said. "Based on observations of discs around the glowing stars, we expected that discs around the red dwarf stars would have a longer time. In this system, the disk will disappear before it is 25 million years old. "She added that AU Mic probably started with the outer edge of small ice bodies, such as the Kuiper belt, which is found in our solar system. If the disk did not erode, it would bring ice creams to all the dry inner planets.

Probing the Secret Blob

Hubble Astronomers have spotted stains in STIS visual light images taken in 2010-2011. As a continuation of the Hubble study, the SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-Contrast Exoplanet Research) instrument mounted on a very large telescope in the southern observatory in Chile showed almost infrared observation. The remarks made by Earth telescopes and Hubble Advanced Surveillance cameras in 2004 showed the disc characteristics.

So far, the team has detected stains on the southeast side of the disc, with an estimated ejection speed between 9,000 miles an hour and 27,000 miles per hour, fast enough to avoid the gravitational constellations of the star. They are currently moving at a distance of approximately 930 million kilometers to more than 5.5 billion miles from the star.

Hubble also shows that these balls must not be just large balls of dust particles. The telescope solved the substructure in one of the blobs, including a mushroom cover above the plane of the disc itself and a complicated "loop-like" structure underneath the disk. "These structures could provide tips for the mechanisms that drive these blobs," Schneider said.

"AU Mic is ideally installed," Schneider said. "But this is only one of about three or four red dwarf systems with known dispersions that disperse the light of the starburst. Other known systems are usually approximately six times more distant, and it is therefore difficult to carry out a detailed study of the types of functions in those disks that we see in AU Mic.

However, astronomers are beginning to identify some of the possible similar activities in these other systems. "This shows that AU Mic is not unique," Grady said. "In fact, we could argue that this is because one of the closest systems of this type is unlikely to be unique."

AU Mic's impressions show how important a disk environment of the star is on the formation and evolution of the planet. "We have found that disks are a normal part of the history of planetary systems," Grady said. "If you do not understand the disc of a star, you do not understand the resulting planetarium system."

Daily galaxy through Hubble


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