First photo of planet in making captured

There are 450 light-years between Earth and LkCa15, a young star with a transition disk around it, a cosmic whirling dervish, a birthplace for planets.

Water in the solar system predates the Sun

Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth's water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments ...

Complex organic molecules discovered in infant star system

For the first time, astronomers have detected the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star, suggesting once again that the conditions that spawned ...

Stellar outburst brings water snowline into view

A violent outburst by the young star V883 Orionis has given astronomers their first view of a water "snowline" in a protoplanetary disk - the transition point around the star where the temperature and pressure are low enough ...

Rings around young star suggest planet formation in progress

Rice University astronomers and their colleagues have for the first time mapped gases in three dark rings around a distant star. The rings mark spaces where planets are thought to have formed from dust and gas around the ...

How do planets form?

We have a pretty good idea of how planets form around stars. We know that dust is formed from the remnants of supernovae, that protoplanetary disks of dust form around young stars, and that dust grains can clump together ...

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