Astronomers discovered two ‘sibling’ exoplanets sharing the same orbit.
Astronomers discovered two exoplanets, like siblings, on the same orbit in the “PDS 70” system, located 370 light-years away from Earth in the Centaurus constellation.
According to CNN’s report, observations made by astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) Telescope revealed the existence of a Jupiter-like exoplanet orbiting a young star, along with another “sibling” planet.
Astronomers previously detected two planets named “PDS 70b” and “PDS 70c” in the star’s orbit. However, it was noted that an debris cloud was observed along the orbit of “PDS 70b,” which could be the building blocks of a planet in its formation process or already formed. The mass of the debris cloud was recorded to be about twice the mass of the Moon.
The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that the exoplanet “PDS 70b,” discovered in 2018, has a mass of 3 Jupiter masses and takes more than 119 years to complete its orbit around its star.
Dr. Olga Balsalobre-Ruza, a Researcher at the Madrid Astrobiology Center and the lead author of the study, stated, “Twenty years ago, it was predicted theoretically that planet pairs with similar masses, also known as ‘Trojans’ or ‘co-orbital planets,’ could share the same orbit around their stars. For the first time, we found evidence consistent with this theory.”
Balsalobre-Ruza mentioned that it was believed a Jupiter-like planet could share its orbit with thousands of celestial bodies, but it is interesting that two planets share the same orbit.
Scientists believe that capturing images of these planets would be the strongest evidence to date of two planets sharing the same orbit.
In the Solar System, “Trojans” are rocky celestial bodies that share the same orbit as planets. It is noted that there is a pair of Trojans in Earth’s orbit and over 12,000 Trojans in Jupiter’s orbit.
The research was published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics