Young star forming in the middle of a protoplanetary disk

(Mirror Daily, United States) Scientists have recently discovered an unusual structure surrounding a young star, called Elias 2-27. The structure has the seaming of a galaxy because of its arms describing a spiral. Specialists intend to find out the implications of such a phenomenon, such as the way in which planets appear.

Researchers explain that when a new star is born, dust and debris surround it. However, the shape of the structure forming around the young star is perfectly circular. This is why the spiral-like shape of the structure surrounding Elias 2-27 is particularly interesting.

This is the first time that researchers observe such a phenomenon. The spiral is composed of arms, just like a galaxy, just like the Milky Way. According to specialists, these arms are caused by density waves.

Experts are amazed by the discovery because they state that such a phenomenon only occurs in large scales, including galaxies. However, the same happens with Elias 2-27. The star is located at more than four hundred fifty light-years from Earth and belongs to the constellation of Ophiuchus.

The scientists were able to observe the young star, its features and the objects surrounding it with the help of a specially designed device. They used a special radio telescope, called Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. The researchers were able to have a closer view of the celestial body and observe that the spiral arms around it are symmetric.

Elias 2-27 is considered to be a young star, but it is at least one million years old. It is also about a half percent of the mass of the Sun. The spiral of dust and gas around the young star is scientifically called protoplanetary disk.

Astronomer Laura Pérez was the leader of the research on Elias 2-27. She talked about the link between this discovery and the possible reconsideration of the process of planet-forming, which is called ‘core accretion’:

“Once the core is large enough, it quickly accretes gas from the disk and forms a planet with an atmosphere — think of Jupiter, with its massive inner core and then its massive atmosphere. However, this standard picture fails at large distances from the star. There are not enough dust particles and gas for core accretion to be proceed.”

A study on Elias 2-27 and the curious structure around it was published in Science.

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia