Science.-The gas giant planets could mature earlier than thought

01-01-1970 Artistic image of the planets V1298 Tau Farewell around the 20-million-year-old star V1298 Tau POLITICA SOCIEDAD GABRIEL PÉREZ DÍAZ (IAC)

Madrid 2 (European Press)

A new study published in Nature Astronomy reveals that gas giants (such as Jupiter and Saturn) may incorporate their final size much sooner than scientists thought.

For the research, led by Alejandro Suarez Mascareno (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias – IAC), the masses of gaseous giant planets were first measured at a very young age in the evolution of planetary systems.

Specifically, the masses of the giant planets orbiting the young solar-type star V1298 Tau, which are only 20 million years old, were examined, showing that they are similar to those of the giant planets of the solar system or other systems. Knowledge who is in the stage of maturity. These measurements are the first to be obtained for such a young giant planet.

This finding conflicts with all theories of planet formation and evolution that predict much larger sizes for these young gaseous planets.

To measure the masses of both planets, originally discovered by a North American team using data from NASA’s Kepler space mission, it was necessary to separate the tiny signals generated by the planets from their stellar footprint, which is about ten times larger.

“Characterization of very young planets is very difficult,” says Alejandro Suarez Mascareno, noting that “young stars present very high levels of activity” and therefore, “only with advanced analysis techniques can planetary information be extracted.”

Radial velocity measurements obtained with the instruments of Carmen (in the 3.5-meter telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory in Almeria), HARPS-N and HERMES (in the TNG and Mercator telescopes, both at the Roque de los Boys on the island of La Palma) And STELLASES (at the TED Observatory on Tenerife) confirm the existence of masses similar to those of Jupiter for Jupiter-sized planets V1298 Tau b and e, despite their diminutive age of 20 million years.

“Theoretical models have always dictated that giant planets begin to evolve as bodies much larger than Jupiter and subsequently shrink over hundreds or even billions of years,” Victor J. Sanchez-Béjart (IAC) explains in a statement. work.

The detailed study of modern planetary systems is crucial to understanding the beginning of the solar system. The new findings suggest that the planetary contraction is a fast phenomenon, rather than a slow one as previously thought. Huge planets like Jupiter reach their final size and density in less than 20 million years.

says Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, of the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA) and co-author of the work.

According to the authors of the work, it is now important to extend these studies to other young planetary systems to confirm that V1298 Tau is no exception and to provide the information needed to correct the theory of gaseous and giant planet evolution.

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