Planets May Form and Orbit around Supermassive Black Holes | Astronomy

Planets May Form and Orbit around Supermassive Black Holes | Astronomy

Artist's impression of an event horizon surrounding a supermassive black hole. This disk is 100,000 times the mass of the sun and 1 billion times the mass of a protoplanetary disk.

Some of the dust in the disk clumps to form young planets, and it's been also revealed that over time, the heat of the star clears the region and leaves a system of exoplanets orbiting this star. The researchers applied the planet formation theory to circumnuclear disks and found that planets could be formed in several hundred million years.

Planets tend to form out of protoplanetary disks - rings of dust and gas that circle stars. But young stars are not the only objects that possess dust disks.

For the study's co-author Keiichi Wada of the Kagoshima University, it is possible for large objects to form from the dust surrounding massive black holes.

However, there is now no way of detecting such planetary systems around a black hole, so there is no way of confirming whether planets of this kind have yet formed.

Planets could actually be created in such extreme environments, new work suggests, and a black hole could be home to thousands of planets.

For Wada and his colleague, the right conditions refer to the cool temperature within the protoplanetary disk. He added that even whole planetary systems could be found there.

And these planets would not be subject to the same limitations as planets forming around a baby star. These fluffy aggregates are dust grains stuck together through their ice mantles in a low-temperature region.

"Our calculations show that tens of thousands of planets with 10 times the mass of the Earth could be formed around 10 light-years from a black hole", Eiichiro Kokubo of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan said.

According to dynamical modelling, this occurs when a planetesimal accumulates so much mass that its orbit is no longer stable, and it starts to rapidly migrate towards an accreting star, meeting its eventual demise. (Smaller black holes also exist throughout galaxies.) In this illustration, the supermassive black hole at the center is surrounded by matter flowing onto the black hole in what is termed an accretion disk. Due to the amount of debris within the accretion disk, the researchers noted that supermassive black holes are capable of creating planets bigger than Earth.

Researchers focused on these heavy disks of material and came to the conclusion that planets could form from the fluffy dust contained in the black hole disks. Perhaps, stars with their own systems of planets?



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