Nearby Planetary Disks

Science  26 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5666, pp. 1982-1983
DOI: 10.1126/science.1095851

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More than 100 planets have been discovered around stars during the past decade, but it has been very difficult to observe earlier stages when the star is surrounded by a disk of preplanetary dust. In his Perspective, Mouillet discusses observations reported in the same issue by Kalas et al. of a circumstellar disk around the young nearby star AU Mic. Because the star is also among the least massive, the discovery should provide useful complementary comparisons with models of planetary system formation and future opportunities for high-resolution imaging.