Poof! A cloud of dust splayed around a young star has astonishingly disappeared into thin year in just three years time. Scientists are puzzled at how this is possible in such short time duration. Maybe the present ideas of planet formation are not quite true! Could it be that the planet formation is quicker than anticipated? Or maybe the stars anchoring the planets are much larger in number?
"The most commonly accepted time scale for the removal of this much dust is in the hundreds of thousands of years, sometimes millions," said the perplexed Inseok Song, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Georgia."What we saw was far more rapid, and has never been observed or even predicted. It tells us that we have a lot more to learn about planet formation."
Data that surveyed more than 96 percent of the sky in 1983, retrieved from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, was thoroughly scrutinized. It shows Scorpius-Centaurus stellar nursery hosts the star called the TYC 8241 2652 1. The star in the beginning was enveloped by a cloud of dust that was recognized by its characteristic infrared energy radiation.
Inspection of the star in 2008, at the Gemini South Observatory with a mid-infrared imager showed an identical pattern. An astounding observation was noted a year later, when the examination was repeated. The infra red emission had shown a shocking fall by nearly two thirds. In 2010 further examination by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer showed that the dust had almost vanished.
"It's as if you took a conventional picture of the planet Saturn today and then came back two years later and found that its rings had disappeared,“ exclaimed Ben Zuckerman working with UC Los Angeles. Song stated his opinion saying "If what we observed is related to runaway growth, then our finding suggests that planet formation is very fast and very efficient," he stated "The implication is that if the conditions are right around a star, planet formation can be nearly instantaneous from an astronomical perspective."
The planet is nearly 450 light years away, that is a steep distance to carry out observation research. Another reason for the disappearance of the dust could be that the star may have sopped it up on its own or may be the dust had been totally ousted out from the sun’s orbit. The actuality of this finding is that the dust clouds are fleeting and transitory. It also indicates that there is a large number of undiscovered planets. As Song comments "Many stars without any detectable dust may have mature planetary systems that are simply undetectable."