Research NewsAstronomy

Spying on Solar Systems in the Making

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Science  24 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5363, pp. 523-524
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5363.523

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Sensitive new cameras that astronomers have been pointing at young stars are yielding unprecedented views of swirling disks of dust surrounding the stars--probably the nurseries of planets like our own. A crop of new images unveiled this week shows several disks with mysterious bulges--perhaps dust-cloaked giant planets--and others with holes torn in them, apparently by the gravitation of planets. In one case--the youngest disk ever seen around a full-grown star--astronomers may be spying on the very moment of planet birth.