Astronomers name protoplanetary disc after Dracula

Analysing images obtained with the Pan-STARRS telescope, astronomers have discovered a previously unknown protoplanetary disc. It is located about 800 light years from Earth.
Protoplanetary disc around the star IRAS 23077+6707. Source: arXiv (2024). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2402.01063

A protoplanetary disc is a disc of dense gas and dust orbiting a recently formed star. Over time, planet embryos begin to form in it, using the surrounding matter as building blocks. Astronomers are actively studying such structures to better understand how our solar system was formed.

A protoplanetary disc associated with the infrared source IRAS 23077+6707 has been discovered. It has been given the unusual name of Dracula’s Chivito (due to its morphology, which resembles a chivito sandwich, a national dish of Uruguay).

The apparent size of the structure is about 11 angular seconds. This makes it the largest protoplanetary disc discovered to date. The disc has a mass of about 0.2 times the mass of the Sun, a radius of about 1650 AU, and an inclination angle of 82°.

The disc surrounds a spectral class A star. It is twice as large as the Sun and has a mass of about 2.5 solar masses, and its effective temperature is estimated to be about 8000° C.

Astronomers also report that Dracula’s Chivito shows faint “fangs” in its northern part. They interpret them as a shell that is dissipating. If this hypothesis is correct, it confirms that Dracula’s Chivito and its star are a young star system.

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