Posted Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at 2:43 PM
Scientists observing a new star 450 light years from Earth say they have caught early glimpses of planets forming around it.
The fledgling star, HD 142527, may be 2 million years old, but it remains a newborn by the universe’s standards. Scientists using the ALMA telescope captured a first-of-its-kind look at planetary development, as newly forming gas giants begin to clear out the disk surrounding it.
So far, the international team has determined that at least two young planets have sprouted up around the star.
The novel sighting also confirmed an earlier theoretical concept of gravity-fueled bridges between outer and inner portions of the star’s disk that help the star grow. HD 142527 is already about twice as massive as the sun and is still expanding.