A planet is born!

All About Space - - Launch Pad -

The for­ma­tion of plan­ets is a pre­car­i­ous process. The for­ma­tion of Earth was largely a game of chance, and only by ob­serv­ing the for­ma­tion of other plan­ets can we get a clearer pic­ture of our his­tory.

As­tronomers have used the Euro­pean South­ern Ob­ser­va­tory’s Ata­cama Large Milime­ter/sub­milime­ter Ar­ray (ALMA) to im­age the fas­ci­nat­ing pro­to­plan­e­tary disc of AS 209, which is 410-light-years away from Earth. The rings ris­ing from the struc­ture are par­tic­u­larly fas­ci­nat­ing, as they show as­tronomers how gas and dust is shaped in the early ages of a young star, be­fore any plan­ets can be made.

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