Large impacts around a solar-analog star in the era of terrestrial planet formation

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Science  29 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6200, pp. 1032-1035
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255153

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A cosmic dust storm that came and went

Unseen planets may still kick up a lot of dust. While rocky exoplanets finish their growth, destructive collisions among them throw off clouds of fine debris that shine bright in the infrared. Meng et al. monitored the star ID8 with the Spitzer Space Telescope and observed a rapid thermal flareup and fadeout within only 2 years. This modulation is consistent with recent collisions among its orbiting protoplanets. Such dynamic variations in presumed planet-forming systems encourage more studies that exploit the real-time changes.

Science, this issue p. 1032