It appears that clues about exoplanets have emerged earlier than we thought since astronomer Walter Adams had made notes on such a celestial object back in 1917. Exoplanets were finally declared valid by science during the 1990s.
A new study has found evidence on the mysterious planets dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century, that everyone seems to have overlooked until now. It appears that noted astronomer Walter Adams found evidence of some planetary debris floating near a dwarf star. This alone points out the existence of an exoplanet in the proximity of the star and makes the notes of Adams the first on the matter of exoplanets in history.
The information was found after a team of researchers sifted through the astronomical glass collection located at the Carnegie Observatories. One plate held a spectral image of an ancient star named a white dwarf, which is very dense. Just to understand its weight, astronomers have previously declared that a teaspoonful of the material of the star is equivalent to the weight of an adult elephant.
The study involved John Mulchaey, assistant researcher and Carnegie Observatories chief. He has noted that the plate contained the first piece of evidence of such a white dwarf, but also its layers of gas. Mulchaey was astonished by the fact that the discovery has remained hidden for almost a century, especially since astronomer Walter Adams was quite well-known in his time.
In more details, Adams managed to identify a chemical blueprint of the white dwarf, and this revealed items that do not usually dwell near such ancient stars. The nearby clouds are made out of magnesium, iron and calcium, and should have thus fallen into the white star because of their weight. However, the chemical elements have pointed out that the universe contains tons of debris that approach the white dwarf systematically. Such phenomena were first studied twelve years ago.
In spite of the clues leading to the existence of an exoplanet, the team has yet to discover a fully-fledged such celestial object near the star. According to the lead author of the study Jay Farihi, who is also a researcher at the University College London, this process could not take place unless there were other planets present in the area.
The findings were published in the New Astronomy Reviews journal.
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