Revealed: first image of a new planet being formed with star dust

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The world’s highest radio telescope, built on a Chilean plateau in the Andes 5,000 metres above sea level, has captured the first image of a new planet being formed as it gobbles up the cosmic dust and gas surrounding a distant star.


Astronomers have long predicted that giant “gas” planets similar to Jupiter would form by collecting the dust and debris that forms around a young star. Now they have the first visual evidence to support the phenomenon, scientists said.

The image taken by the Atacama Millimetre-submillimetre Array (ALMA) in Chile shows two streams of gas connecting the inner and outer disks of cosmic material surrounding the star HD 142527, which is about 450 light-years from Earth.

Astronomers believe the gas streamers are the result of two giant planets – too small to be visible in this image – exerting a gravitational pull on the cloud of surrounding dust and gas, causing the material to flow from the outer to inner stellar disks, said Simon Casassus of the University of Chile in Santiago.

Written By: Steve Connor
continue to source article at independent.co.uk

12 COMMENTS

  1. I watched a pretty cool show last night called “How big is the Universe”. It was thought provoking and much of it went over my head (no pun intended). Anyway, with the newer technologies and better resolution of said technologies, discoveries like this are (hopefully) going to pile up.

    Awesome stuff!!!

  2. In reply to #1 by Kim Probable:

    It seems as though Google is building this system. ;)

    That’s one of the advantages of not paying any of the taxes you rightly owe: plenty of spare cash to invest in other projects.

  3. In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

    I watched a pretty cool show last night called “How big is the Universe”. It was thought provoking and much of it went over my head (no pun intended). Anyway, with the newer technologies and better resolution of said technologies, discoveries like this are (hopefully) going to pile up.

    Awesome stuff!!!

    I’m currently reading “A Universe from Nothing” by Krauss. So very mind boggling sometimes, but also very interesting. Einstein and other physicists must be Gods due to their understanding of such complex concepts (I knew there had to be some rational proof for Gods somewhere!)

  4. The right image is the artist’s impression – by far the more impressive image. How do we know for certain that this is what is happening in the actual image on the left? The image on the left looks like a blurred image of an iris of an eye with highlight in groovy multicolors.

  5. Kathol,
    I think that is the next book on my list. I have heard nothing but great stuff! I am currently rereading “The Old Man and the Sea”.

    In reply to #11 by kathol:

    In reply to #2 by crookedshoes:

    I watched a pretty cool show last night called “How big is the Universe”. It was thought provoking and much of it went over my head (no pun intended). Anyway, with the newer technologies and better resolution of said technologies, discoveries like this are (hopefully) going to pile up.

    Awesome stuff!!!

    I’m currently reading “A Universe from Nothing” by Krauss. So very mind boggling sometimes, but also very interesting. Einstein and other physicists must be Gods due to their understanding of such complex concepts (I knew there had to be some rational proof for Gods somewhere!)

  6. What a wonderful and exhilarating time to be alive. How everything comes together; the stupendous progress in technology, the LHC in Geneva, the construction of ever larger and better telescopes like the Webb telescope and the E-ELT, the discoveries in cosmology and astronomy, the detection of countless strange and possibly habitable worlds. The prospect of finding alien life in our lifetime (I have another 40 years or so to go). Planets of diamond, golden meteorites, oceans of methane. Hopeful signs from the study of abiogenesis, the glorious and liberating facts of evolution, the ever better understanding of – chemically driven – human behaviour, the medical advances and the increase of life expectancy. And, of course, the internet, that will spell the death of religion, or at least the lunacy of the Abrahamic faiths. The God of the Gaps becoming the God of the Tiny Cracks.

    Imagine the Torah, the Bible or the Koran, all three maybe an inch and a half thick. Filled with anachronistic rubbish. Compare that to the scientific literature, stretching hundreds of kilometers, accumulated over the last, say 600 years. It’s a done deal who will be victorious.

  7. Astronomers have long predicted that giant “gas” planets similar to Jupiter would form by collecting the dust and debris that forms around a young star. Now they have the first visual evidence to support the phenomenon, scientists said.

    Given that the accretion process for giant gas planets and stars is the same effect of gravity pulling in molecules, this should not be too surprising.

    Rocky planets of course seem to have a different process, in which the heavier elements of rocks are separated from gas and then planetoids collide to produce larger planets.

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