The astronomers found evidence by measuring the movement of the dense gas
In a remarkable discovery, astronomers have found a rotating disc around a young star in our neighbouring galaxy. The extraordinary discovery was described as a "special moment" by an international team of experts, led by Durham University. The experts announced the detection of both the star and its rotating disc structure outside the Milky Way, approximately 163,000 light years away from Earth.
This event unfolded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy, within a region known as N180, where numerous new stars are actively taking shape. The observed structure recognized as an accretion disc, forms as material such as gas, dust, and other debris is gradually drawn toward the developing star due to gravitational forces.
Published in the journal Nature, the findings resulted from observations made using the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (Alma) in Chile.
Lead author Dr Anna McLeod from the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University said, "When I first saw evidence for a rotating structure in the Alma data, I could not believe that we had detected the first extragalactic accretion disc; it was a special moment.
"We know discs are vital to forming stars and planets in our galaxy, and here, for the first time, we're seeing direct evidence for this in another galaxy."
The astronomers found evidence by measuring the movement of the dense gas around the star.
The findings say that the disc rotates faster closer to the centre than the outer edge and researchers say this difference in speed is the "smoking gun" that confirms the presence of an accretion disc.
Researchers said that the star is thought to be massive, 15 times the mass of the sun, The Independent reported.
Dr McLeod said: "Being able to study how stars form at such incredible distances and in a different galaxy is very exciting."