Astronomers find biggest known batch of planet ingredients swirling around young star

Source: SFGate

“Astronomers have discovered what they believe is the biggest known batch of planet-making ingredients swirling around a young star. The diameter of this colossal disk is roughly 3,300 times the distance between Earth and the sun, with enough gas and dust to form super-sized planets in far-flung orbits, the U.S. and German researchers reported this week. First spotted in 2016, the disk around a star 1,000 light-years away was not confirmed to be a hotbed for new, emerging planets until recent observations by telescopes in Hawaii. A light-year is 5.8 trillion miles. It’s so massive and rich in dust and gas, the building blocks of planets, that scientists can learn more about ‘the birth and evolution of worlds beyond our own,’ said lead author Kristina Monsch of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. This so-called protoplanetary disk looks like a butterfly in the images, according to Monsch.” (05/14/24)