Special Reviews

Disks Around Stars and the Growth of Planetary Systems

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Science  07 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5706, pp. 68-71
DOI: 10.1126/science.1101979

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Circumstellar disks play a vital evolutionary role, providing a way to move gas inward and onto a young star. The outward transfer of angular momentum allows the star to contract without breaking up, and the remnant disk of gas and particles is the reservoir for forming planets. High-resolution spectroscopy is uncovering planetary dynamics and motion within the remnant disk, and imaging at infrared to millimeter wavelengths resolves disk structure over billions of years of evolution. Most stars are born with a disk, and models of planet formation need to form such bodies from the disk material within the disk's 10-million-year life-span.

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