Star and protoplanetary disk

We have seen a planet born while its star was still forming

By Jason Arunn Murugesu

Illustration of a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk

NASA / JPL-Caltech

In an astronomical first phase, we may have directly observed how a star forms at the same time as a planet orbiting it is still growing, proving a long-held theory about planet formation.

Planets are believed to form in a disk of dust and gas, also known as the protoplanetary disk, that surrounds the host star. Theoretical models suggest that planets should begin forming while the host star is still growing – but so far we have only seen evidence of planet formation after the star formed itself.

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