Thursday, November 19, 2015

Formation of Alien Worlds Photographed for 1st Time | VIDEO

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Formation of Alien Worlds Photographed for 1st Time
Artist's illustration of planets forming in a circumstellar disk like the one surrounding the star LkCa 15. The planets within the disk's gap sweep up material that would have otherwise fallen onto the star.

By Mike Wall

     For the first time ever, astronomers have directly observed planets in the process of being born.

Scientists have photographed a gas-giant exoplanet forming around a young star called LkCa 15, which lies about 450 light-years from Earth.

"It's exciting, because it's the first time that we've been able to image forming planets directly," study lead author Stephanie Sallum, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, told "It gives us a system to follow up in the future, in depth, to really understand the details of how planets form." [...]

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