First Ever Image of a Multi-Planet System around a Sun-like Star Captured by ESO Telescope
Just a few weeks ago, ESO revealed a planetary system being born in a new, stunning VLT image. Now, the same telescope, using the same instrument, has taken the first direct image of a planetary system around a star like our Sun, located about 300 light-years away and known as TYC 8998-760-1.
“This discovery is a snapshot of an environment that is very similar to our Solar System, but at a much earlier stage of its evolution,” says Alexander Bohn, a PhD student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who led the new research published today in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
“Even though astronomers have indirectly detected thousands of planets in our galaxy, only a tiny fraction of these exoplanets have been directly imaged,” says co-author Matthew Kenworthy, Associate Professor at Leiden University, adding that “direct observations are important in the search for environments that can support life.” The direct imaging of two or more exoplanets around the same star is even more rare; only two such systems have been directly observed so far, both around stars markedly different from our Sun. The new ESO’s VLT image is the first direct image of more than one exoplanet around a Sun-like star. ESO’s VLT was also the first telescope to directly image an exoplanet, back in 2004, when it captured a speck of light around a brown dwarf, a type of ‘failed’ star.
The SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has captured the first ever image of a young, Sun-like star accompanied by two giant exoplanets, located about 300 light-years away from Earth. This animation shows the orbits of the two exoplanets, compared with the size of Pluto’s orbit. (Note that the yellow circle does not represent Pluto’s real orbit, but rather the size of the orbit, which is calculated based on the dwarf planet’s average distance to the Sun.)
“Our team has now been able to take the first image of two gas giant companions that are orbiting a young, solar analogue,” says Maddalena Reggiani, a postdoctoral researcher from KU Leuven, Belgium, who also participated in the study. The two planets can be seen in the new image as two bright points of light distant from their parent star, which is located in the upper left of the frame (click on the image to view the full frame). By taking different images at different times, the team were able to distinguish these planets from the background stars.
The two gas giants orbit their host star at distances of 160 and about 320 times the Earth-Sun distance. This places these planets much further away from their star than Jupiter or Saturn, also two gas giants, are from the Sun; they lie at only 5 and 10 times the Earth-Sun distance, respectively. The team also found the two exoplanets are much heavier than the ones in our Solar System, the inner planet having 14 times Jupiter’s mass and the outer one six times.
Bohn’s team imaged this system during their search for young, giant planets around stars like our Sun but far younger. The star TYC 8998-760-1 is just 17 million years old and located in the Southern constellation of Musca (The Fly). Bohn describes it as a “very young version of our own Sun.”
These images were possible thanks to the high performance of the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s VLT in the Chilean Atacama desert. SPHERE blocks the bright light from the star using a device called coronagraph, allowing the much fainter planets to be seen. While older planets, such as those in our Solar System, are too cool to be found with this technique, young planets are hotter, and so glow brighter in infrared light. By taking several images over the past year, as well as using older data going back to 2017, the research team have confirmed that the two planets are part of the star’s system.
Further observations of this system, including with the future ESO Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), will enable astronomers to test whether these planets formed at their current location distant from the star or migrated from elsewhere. ESO’s ELT will also help probe the interaction between two young planets in the same system. Bohn concludes: “The possibility that future instruments, such as those available on the ELT, will be able to detect even lower-mass planets around this star marks an important milestone in understanding multi-planet systems, with potential implications for the history of our own Solar System.”
This research was presented in the paper “Two Directly Imaged, Wide-orbit Giant Planets around the Young, Solar Analog TYC 8998-760-1” to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/aba27e).
The team is composed of Alexander J. Bohn (Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, The Netherlands), Matthew A. Kenworthy (Leiden Observatory), Christian Ginski (Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Leiden Observatory), Steven Rieder (University of Exeter, Physics Department, UK), Eric E. Mamajek (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA and Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Rochester, USA), Tiffany Meshkat (IPAC, California Institute of Technology, USA), Mark J. Pecaut (Rockhurst University, Department of Physics, USA), Maddalena Reggiani (Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Belgium), Jozua de Boer (Leiden Observatory), Christoph U. Keller (Leiden Observatory), Frans Snik (Leiden Observatory) and John Southworth (Keele University, UK).
For external comment on the paper, please contact ESO Astronomer Carlo Manara ([email protected]), who did not participate in the study.
ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 16 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a Strategic Partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. Also at Paranal ESO will host and operate the Cherenkov Telescope Array South, the world’s largest and most sensitive gamma-ray observatory. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX and ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.
NIST Scientists Get Soft on 3D Printing
New method could jump-start creation of tiny medical devices for the body.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method of 3D-printing gels and other soft materials. Published in a new paper, it has the potential to create complex structures with nanometer-scale precision. Because many gels are compatible with living cells, the new method could jump-start the production of soft tiny medical devices such as drug delivery systems or flexible electrodes that can be inserted into the human body.
A standard 3D printer makes solid structures by creating sheets of material — typically plastic or rubber — and building them up layer by layer, like a lasagna, until the entire object is created.
Using a 3D printer to fabricate an object made of gel is a “bit more of a delicate cooking process,” said NIST researcher Andrei Kolmakov. In the standard method, the 3D printer chamber is filled with a soup of long-chain polymers — long groups of molecules bonded together — dissolved in water. Then “spices” are added — special molecules that are sensitive to light. When light from the 3D printer activates those special molecules, they stitch together the chains of polymers so that they form a fluffy weblike structure. This scaffolding, still surrounded by liquid water, is the gel.
Typically, modern 3D gel printers have used ultraviolet or visible laser light to initiate formation of the gel scaffolding. However, Kolmakov and his colleagues have focused their attention on a different 3D-printing technique to fabricate gels, using beams of electrons or X-rays. Because these types of radiation have a higher energy, or shorter wavelength, than ultraviolet and visible light, these beams can be more tightly focused and therefore produce gels with finer structural detail. Such detail is exactly what is needed for tissue engineering and many other medical and biological applications. Electrons and X-rays offer a second advantage: They do not require a special set of molecules to initiate the formation of gels.
But at present, the sources of this tightly focused, short-wavelength radiation — scanning electron microscopes and X-ray microscopes — can only operate in a vacuum. That’s a problem because in a vacuum the liquid in each chamber evaporates instead of forming a gel.
Kolmakov and his colleagues at NIST and at the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste in Italy, solved the issue and demonstrated 3D gel printing in liquids by placing an ultrathin barrier — a thin sheet of silicon nitride — between the vacuum and the liquid chamber. The thin sheet protects the liquid from evaporating (as it would ordinarily do in vacuum) but allows X-rays and electrons to penetrate into the liquid. The method enabled the team to use the 3D-printing approach to create gels with structures as small as 100 nanometers (nm) — about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. By refining their method, the researchers expect to imprint structures on the gels as small as 50 nm, the size of a small virus.
Some future structures made with this approach could include flexible injectable electrodes to monitor brain activity, biosensors for virus detection, soft micro-robots, and structures that can emulate and interact with living cells and provide a medium for their growth.
“We’re bringing new tools — electron beams and X-rays operating in liquids — into 3D printing of soft materials,” said Kolmakov. He and his collaborators described their work in an article posted online Sept. 16 in ACS Nano.
T. Gupta, et al. “Electron and X-ray Focus Beam Induced Crosslinking in Liquids: Toward Rapid Continuous 3D Nanoprinting of Soft Materials.“. ACS Nano (2020)
Realme Q Series Phone Allegedly Spotted on TENAA, Key Specifications Tipped
Realme Q series seem to be getting a new smartphone and it allegedly been spotted on TENAA, offering a glimpse of the possible specifications. A Realme smartphone with model number RMX2117 was spotted on the regulator’s website and it is being speculated that the phone could be a part of the company’s Q series that already includes one phone. The TENAA listing shows the phone sporting a 6.5-inch display and powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz. The listing also hints that the phone may carry up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage. Realme hasn’t officially confirmed any of the specifications.
As per the listing on TENAA, the smartphone with model number RMX2117 sports a 6.5-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Allegedly belonging to the rumoured Realme Q series, the smartphone supports 5G and is powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz.
The Realme Q series phone may be launched in China in three RAM options – 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB, that may be coupled with three inbuilt storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The listing also shows a microSD card slot for storage expansion. It may be launched in four colour options – Black, Blue, Gray, and Silver.
The phone is seen featuring a rectangular camera module that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel snapper, and a 2-megapixel shooter. For selfies and video calls, the phone features a 16-megapixel camera at the front. The Realme RMX2117 smartphone packs a 4,900mAh battery. The handset runs on Android 10 and features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The smartphone measures 162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1mm and weighs 194 grams.
The development comes a week after Realme vice president Xu Qi Chase teased the arrival of a new series, including the Q series, V series, and X series, with in a poster. Chase noted that the upcoming phone will be powered by a 5nm flagship chipset.
Redmi Note 8 or Realme 5s: Which is the best phone under Rs. 10,000 in India right now? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
How to remove the 3D Objects folder from File Explorer in Windows 10
The 3D Objects folder is not useful for many users but removing it from File Explorer in Windows 10 requires a tweak of the Registry File. We show you how.
In addition to the traditional Paint application, which has been a part of Windows since its beginning, Microsoft has also added Paint 3D to its list of standard Windows 10 applications. When combined with a touch display and a stylus or pen, Paint 3D can be a powerful tool for creating three-dimensional objects, a feature many artists and designers find useful.
SEE: 30 Excel tips you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)
However, if you are not inclined to use Paint 3D, you may find the prominence of a 3D Objects folder, and possibly several other folders, on the This PC screen of File Explorer obtrusive and unnecessary. Unfortunately, you cannot remove those folders from File Explorer with a simple change to default settings. That procedure requires an edit of the Windows 10 Registry File.
This how-to tutorial shows you how to remove the 3D Objects folder, and other folders, from the This PC screen of the Windows 10 File Explorer.
How to remove 3D Objects folder from File Explorer
Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.
To get a better idea of what we are talking about, open File Explorer in Windows 10 and then navigate to the This PC screen, as shown in Figure A. Take note of the default listing of folders in the right-hand window.
We are going to concentrate our efforts on the 3D Objects folder, but this technique will work for any of the default folders listed in that section of File Explorer, if you know the code. Further, if you are running the 64-bit version of Windows 10, you will have to perform two edits.
Type “regedit” into the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate result to start the Registry Editor application. As shown in Figure B, navigate to this key (it’s a deep dive):
To complicate matters, the subkeys in the NameSpace section are coded, so you have to carefully choose the key with this code (on my computer, it was in the second position, see Figure C):
Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and confirm your action.
If you are running the 32-bit version of Windows 10, you have completed the procedure, however, if you are running the 64-bit version, you will have to perform a second edit. As shown in Figure D, navigate to this key:
As before, locate this coded key in the NameSpace folder, as shown in Figure E:
Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and then confirm your selection to complete the process. Exit out of the Registry File editor. The change should take effect the next time you open File Explorer.
The 3D Objects folder is located in the Users folder and will still be there after implementing this procedure, but it will no longer be displayed so prominently in the This PC section of File Explorer, as shown in Figure F.
To restore the 3D Objects folder to File Explorer, add the coded key back into the two NameSpace Folders using the Registry File Editor.
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