|ALMA Test Site (ESO photo)|
Even stars and planets have spent some time in swaddling clothes.
Take HL Tau, for instance. At 450 light years from Earth, it was hard to detect. But scientists have now “captured new images” of this young star, complete with “unprecedented detail” of its “dusty disk.”
The Economic Times reports that gaps within this disk “show the very earliest stages of planet formation” that Earthlings have ever seen. These have been viewed with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
The gaps in HL Tau’s disk are caused by fledgling planets whirling their way out of the stardust into orbit. From “grains as large as one centimeter in diameter,” clumps will form. These clumps then grow by “pulling in material from their surroundings.” Eventually, they “gather enough mass” to form planetary bodies.
Copyright March 20, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved