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Cascades of Gas Around Young Star Indicate Early Stages of Planet Formation

21 Oct 2019, 18:25 UTC
Cascades of Gas Around Young Star Indicate Early Stages of Planet Formation
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What does a gestating baby planet look like? New research in Nature by a team including Carnegie’s Jaehan Bae investigated the effects of three planets in the process of forming around a young star, revealing the source of their atmospheres.In their youth, stars are surrounded by a rotating disk of gas and dust from which planets are born. Studying the behavior of the material that makes up these disks can reveal new details about planet formation, and about the evolution of a planetary system as a whole.The disk around a young star called HD 163296 is known to include several rings and gaps. Using 3-D visualizations taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA—a radio telescope made up of 66 antennas—Bae teamed with University of Michigan’s Richard Teague and Ted Bergin to determine the velocities of some of the gas spinning in this disk.“We were struck by how dynamic the disk is,” Bae said. “There’s a lot going on around this star.”They found three areas on either side of which the gas appears to be cascading into gaps in the disk, a good indication that planets could be forming in these locations. They were spotted at 87, 140, and ...

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