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Moon-forming region around an exoplanet, seen for the first time

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    27th Jul, 2021


Scientists have spotted a Moon-forming region around a planet that is beyond our solar system.

About the discovery

  • The researchers used the ALMA observatory in Chile's Atacama desert to detect the Moon-forming region.
  • It is like a disc of swirling material that is accumulated around exoplanets.
  • It is called a circumplanetary disc which gives rise to the moons.
  • The disc was found around one of the two newborn planets seen orbiting a young star called PDS 70.
  • These exoplanets are located a relatively close 370 light-years from Earth.
  • A light-year is a distance which is traveled by light in a year, about 9.5 trillion km.


  • Around more than 4,400 planets have been discovered outside the solar system. These planets are called exoplanets.
  • No circumplanetary discs were found until now because all the known exoplanets resided in “mature” and fully developed solar systems.
  • The two infant gas planets orbiting PDS 70 a young star are seen to have circumplanetary discs.

 How the Birth of a moon takes place?

  • Stars burst to life within clouds of interstellar gas and the generated dust scatters throughout galaxies.
  • The Leftover material spins around a new star then coalesce into planets.
  • Some nascent planets attract a disc of material around them, which is known as circumplanetary discs. The same process, which gives rise to planets around a star, follows the same process to the formation of moons around planets.

PDS 70 star

  • The orange-colored star PDS 70 is roughly the same mass as our Sun.
  • It is about 5 million years old which is like a blink of an eye in cosmic time.
  • The two planets are even younger.
  • Both planets are larger but similar to Jupiter, a gas giant.
  • A moon-forming disc was around one of the two planets, called PDS 70c.
  • Both the planets of PDS 70 star are at a dynamic stage and are still acquiring their atmospheres.
  • PDS 70c orbits its star at 33 times the distance of the Earth from the sun.