A rare form of carbon monoxide (13C17O) was found in the gas surrounding a young star. Using a highly advanced telescope called Atacama Large Millimetre/sub millimetre Array (ALMA), astronomers spotted the star named HD 163296. It is located 330 light years away from the earth. The star which is estimated to be around six million years is surrounded by a disc and enveloped by gases with a faint presence of the rare molecule. This poses astronomers with the possibility of finding out more information about the birthing of stars and other celestial bodies.
"Our new observations showed there was between two and six times more mass hiding in the disc than previous observations could measure. This is an important finding in terms of the birth of planetary systems in discs -- if they contain more gas, then they have more building material to form more massive planets,” said Alice Reed, a researcher from Leeds who played an important part in leading the study.
The researchers who had developed ALMA in the high Atacama Desert were delighted about this discovery and the contribution of the telescope in helping them understand the outer space better. They hope to use the device in other such discoveries where they can observe the mass of stellar discs and compare them in order to come to a consensus about the importance of this rare form of carbon monoxide.