UX Tauri A: Alien Planets Observed Forming Around Distant Sunlike Star

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As seen on Huffington Post By: SPACE.com Staff
Published: 11/30/2012 10:32 AM EST on SPACE.com

Planet Formation

An artist's rendition of the 1-million-year-old star system UX Tau A, located approximately 450 light-years away. Observations from NASA's Sptizer Space Telescope showed a gap in the dusty disk swirling around the system's central star.

Astronomers have detected dust grains glomming together around a faraway star, capturing a snapshot of what appear to be newly forming alien planets caught in the act of being born.

Scientists used the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii to image the disk of dust and gas surrounding UX Tauri A, a young star found about 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus (The Bull). Analysis of the image revealed large and non-spherical dust particles — a telltale sign that grains are adhering to each other in a process that will eventually lead to planet formation, researchers said.

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