24/7 Space News
First extragalactic exoplanet disc spotted outside of the Milky Way
A probable Keplerian disk feeding an optically revealed massive young star
First extragalactic exoplanet disc spotted outside of the Milky Way
by Staff Writers
Durham UK (SPX) Nov 30, 2023

An international team of astronomers led by Durham University and including astronomers at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre has reported the first detection of a rotating disc structure around a forming high-mass star outside of our Milky Way in another galaxy.

The disc surrounds a young massive star located in a stellar nursery called N180, residing in a neighbouring dwarf galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud.

At a distance of 163,000 light years from Earth, this is the most distant disc around a massive star ever to be directly detected.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, in which the European Southern Observatory (ESO) is a partner, researchers observed motions in gas around a young stellar object in the Large Magellanic Cloud consistent with a Keplerian accretion disc - the kind that feeds the growth of stars through infalling material.

The team's findings have been published in the journal Nature.

As matter is pulled towards a growing star, it cannot fall directly onto it; instead, it flattens into a spinning disc around the star. Closer to the centre, the disc rotates faster, and this difference in speed is the smoking gun that shows astronomers an accretion disc is present.

Lead author of the study, Dr Anna McLeod from Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, Durham University said: "When I first saw evidence for a rotating structure in the ALMA data, I could not believe that we had detected the first extragalactic accretion disc; it was a special moment.

"We know discs are vital to forming stars and planets in our galaxy, and here, for the first time, we're seeing direct evidence for this in another galaxy.

"We are in an era of rapid technological advancement when it comes to astronomical facilities.

"Being able to study how stars form at such incredible distances and in a different galaxy is very exciting."

Massive stars, like the one observed here, form much more quickly and live far shorter lives than low-mass stars like our Sun.

In our galaxy, these massive stars are notoriously challenging to observe and are often obscured from view by the dusty material from which they form at the time a disc is shaping around them.

Unlike similar circumstellar disks in the Milky Way, this system is optically visible, likely due to the lower dust and metal content of its surrounding environment. This gives astronomers a peek into the dynamics of accretion that are typically hidden behind veils of gas and dust.

Analysis of the disc suggests an inner Keplerian region transitioning to infalling material at larger distances from the central star. The star is estimated to be around 15 times the mass of our Sun.

While bearing many familiar characteristics of Milky Way discs, some intriguing differences also emerge.

The low metal content typical of the LMC seems to make the disc more stable against fragmentation.

The successful detection of this extragalactic circumstellar disc boosts prospects for finding more such systems with ALMA and the upcoming Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA).

Studying star and disc formation across different galactic environments will help complete our understanding of stellar origins.

Research Report:A probable Keplerian disk feeding an optically revealed massive young star

Related Links
Durham University
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Alien haze, cooked in a lab, clears view to distant water worlds
Baltimore MD (SPX) Nov 28, 2023
Scientists have simulated conditions that allow hazy skies to form in water-rich exoplanets, a crucial step in determining how haziness muddles observations by ground and space telescopes. The research offers new tools to study the atmospheric chemistry of exoplanets and will help scientists model how water exoplanets form and evolve, findings that could help in the search for life beyond our solar system. "The big picture is whether there is life outside the solar system, but trying to answ ... read more

NASA shuttle astronaut, scientist Mary Cleave remembered as 'trailblazer'

U.S. and Saudi Arabia explore space for peaceful purposes

Sierra Space's Shooting Star Module Begins Rigorous Testing at NASA Facility

Russian Progress 86 spacecraft lifts off with supplies for ISS

NASA Tests In-Flight Capability of Artemis Moon Rocket Engine

NASA, small companies eye new cargo delivery, heat shield technologies

Boosting rocket reliability at the material level

Firefly Aerospace completes first Miranda Engine hot fire test

Farewell, Solar Conjunction 2023: Sols 4023-4024

Was There Life on Mars

NASA Orbiter snaps stunning views of Mars horizon

China's Mars rover detects irregular wedges beneath red planet

China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers

Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year

China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program

Shanghai Sets Sights on Expanding Space Industry with Ambitious 2025 Goals

Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M

Embry-Riddle's Innovative Mission Control Lab prepares students for booming space sector

A major boost for space skills and research in North East England

GalaxySpace to boost mobile broadband with new-gen satellite technology

Air Force awards UTEP Grant to safeguard assets in space

China launches tech-experiment satellite

A satellite's death spiral

Beyond Gravity unveils reusable payload fairing concept

First extragalactic exoplanet disc spotted outside of the Milky Way

Discovery of planet too big for its sun throws off solar system formation models

Alien haze, cooked in a lab, clears view to distant water worlds

Webb study reveals rocky planets can form in extreme environments

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.