The Hubble Telescope peered deep into space and saw shadows reaching out from a star and flickering, like the huge wings of a gigantic cosmic bat. Mysteriously, the cause of the “flapping” remains unconfirmed.
The spectacular heavenly spectacle unfolds in a vast cloud of gas and dust 1,400 light years away. the “Bat wings” They are caused by a disk of gas and dust around a young star called HBC 672.
At around two million years old, the star is only one offspring in astronomical terms, since most stars have existed between a billion and 10 billion years.
Hubble photographed the impressive “Bat Shadow” in 2018 and the phenomenon became even more impressive this week when new research revealed the extraordinary flapping motion.
The shadow is caused by a gas disk surrounding the young star, and astronomers speculate that the flapping motion is caused by a planet pulling on the disk and hitting it.
“The shadow moves. It flaps like the wings of a bird! said astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who is the lead author of the new study.
Scientists believe the disc is saddle-shaped, with two spikes and two dives. The planet believed to be causing the phenomenon has an orbit that is tilted towards the plane of the disk, which explains the flickering of the “wings”.
“If there was a simple bulge on the disk, we would expect both sides of the shadow to tilt in opposite directions, like the wings of the plane during a turn.” explained Colette Salyk, another member of the research team.
If he Flutter It is not caused by a planet, scientists already have a supporting theory, suggesting that it is a smaller stellar companion that is orbiting out of the disk plane.
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