From a Swirl of Dust, a Planet Is Born

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Science  01 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5437, pp. 66-68
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5437.66

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Hard-won observations of hundreds of young stars are at last beginning to confirm the long-standing theory that planets coalesce from a swirling disk of gas and dust around young stars. In addition, the findings are pointing to the crucial events along the way and a rough timetable for planet formation. It now appears that planetary systems are common in the universe and that the formation of our solar system probably was not a unique event; in fact, researchers now tend to believe that planets are the normal consequence of the birth of most stars.