Image is of planet-forming disc surrounding sun-like star, HL Tau

planet_formation

 

You’d be forgiven for thinking this incredible picture is an artist’s impression of a planet forming around a star.

But it is in fact the most detailed real image of a planet’s birth ever taken, revealing a phenomenon astronomers could only theorise about a few decades ago – and one that could help explain how the solar system formed.

The planet-forming disc surrounds HL Tau, a sun-like star around 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus.

planet_formation2

Images with this level of detail were previously only seen in computer models and artist concepts.

‘This new and unexpected result provides an incredible view of the process of planet formation,’ said Tony Beasley, director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).

HL Tau is hidden in visible light behind a massive envelope of dust and gas. Since Alma observes at much longer wavelengths, it is able to peer through the intervening dust to study the processes right at the core of this cloud.

 alma

 

If you wish you can Leave a Reply. We will publish it after moderation. Insults and Spam are automatically deleted. Thank you for visiting my blog today.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: