SPHERE and ALMA images of material orbiting V960 Mon

On the left hand side in yellow is an image of the young star V960 Mon and its surrounding dusty material, taken with the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). Light that is reflected off of the dusty material orbiting the star becomes polarised — meaning it oscillates in a well-defined direction rather than randomly — and is then detected by SPHERE, revealing mesmerising spiral arms.

These findings motivated astronomers to analyse archival observations of the same system taken using Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which ESO is a partner. The results of this analysis can be seen on the right hand side in blue. The wavelengths of light at which ALMA observes allow it to pierce deeper into the orbiting material, revealing that the spiral arms are fragmenting and forming clumps with masses similar to that of planets. These clumps could contract and collapse via a process known as “gravitational instability” to form giant planets.



About the Image

Release date:25 July 2023, 15:00
Related releases:eso2312
Size:2092 x 1070 px

About the Object

Name:V960 Mon
Type:Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Disk : Protoplanetary

Image Formats

Large JPEG
279.4 KB
Screensize JPEG
78.6 KB