Astronomers “accidentally” found a satellite of a double star CS Cha
The international team of astronomers, led by Dutch researchers from the University of Leiden, accidentally noticed a small “companion” in the young double star CS Cha, – reported portal phys.org. Scientists suggest that it can be a planet that has not yet been fully formed.
The binary star CS Cha is located about 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Chameleon. She is very young: she is only two to three million years old (our Sun is just over 4.5 billion years old). Astronomers wanted to study the star to search for a dusty disk and the emerging planets. For this, they worked with the SPHERE receiver, which is used on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. Its main task is to detect and explore exoplanets, but also with its help scientists get images of discs around young stars.
Studying the images of the binary star CS Cha, astronomers saw a small dot on the edge of the pictures. To understand what this point is, researchers have plunged into the archives. In photographs of 19- and 11-year-olds made with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope, scientists also discovered a point near the double star – but more dim. Thanks to old photographs, astronomers were able to show that the companion is moving along with the binary star and that they are in the same system.
The way the satellite looks and how it was formed is not yet clear. The researchers tried to adjust the various models of observations, but they do not give a one hundred percent response. The companion can be a small brown (or brown) dwarf or a large super Jupiter, which is still in the growing phase. Specialists from the Leiden Observatory explained that the light of a double star’s companion is highly polarized, which occurs when light is strongly dissipated in its path. Presumably, the satellite is surrounded by its own dust disk, which blocks most of the world – so it’s difficult to determine the mass of the satellite.
In the future, researchers want to study the star and its satellite in more detail with the help of the ALMA international telescope, which is located on the Chakhnantor Plateau in the Atacama Desert (Chile).
The image below shows the double star and the dust disk surrounding it, and to the right – its recently found companion.