Researchers Discovered A Galaxy That Could Shed Light On Our Solar System

Researchers have discovered a unique stage of planetary system evolution by imaging a star system over 400 light-years away. Scientists on the project say the discovery provides an opportunity to study how our solar system developed. The discovery is of fast-moving carbon monoxide gas flowing out from a young and low-mass star.

Researchers believe that studying the unique stage of planetary system evolution could provide insight into how our solar system evolved. The discovery also suggests solar system development may be more complicated than previously believed. Currently, it's unclear how the gas is being ejected at such a high speed. Researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, think the high-speed gas could be produced from icy comets being vaporized in the star's asteroid belt.

The system was discovered using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile during a survey of young Class III stars. Some of the stars in the study are surrounded by debris discs believed to be formed by the ongoing collision of comets, asteroids, and planetesimals. The collisions occur in the outer reaches of recently formed planetary systems.

Dust and debris remaining from those collisions absorbs light from the central star and radiates that energy as a faint glow that can be studied with ALMA. The star studied by the researchers is called "NO Lup" and is about 70% of the mass of the Sun. It has a faint, low-mass dusty disc and is the only Class III studied where carbon monoxide was detected.

The detection of a Class III star with carbon monoxide is a first for ALMA. Some scientists thought that by the time NO Lup reached its current evolutionary stage, it would have lost its primordial gas after it's planets were formed. Detection of carbon monoxide gas is rare, but what made the ALMA observation so unique was the scale and speed of the gas, prompting follow-up study. Those follow-up studies have shown that the gas may be produced during collisions between asteroids or during periods of sublimation, which is the transition from solid to gaseous phase, on the surface of comets around the star thought to be rich in carbon monoxide ice.