Saturday, December 22, 2007

Terrestrial Planets Forming in the Subaru!


© Lynette R. Cook, for Gemini Observatory.
In the Pleiades (known as Subaru in Japanese - yes, the car company is named for it), astronomers have discovered evidence of terrestrial planets forming, or having recently formed, around two young (100 - 400 million years old) stars in the Pleiades cluster.
"This is the first clear evidence for planet formation in the Pleiades, and the results we are presenting may well be the first observational evidence that terrestrial planets like those in our solar system are quite common," said Joseph Rhee, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in astronomy and lead author of the research (UCLA, par. 3).
The Pleiades is a young open cluster 400 light years away. Some scientists feel that our Sun was formed in an open cluster as well; stars in an open cluster tend to wander from the "nest" as they age. So, we may see the beginnings of home worlds for future Subaruians (Pleiadians?).

Reference:

UCLA News Results. "Planets found forming in Pleiades star cluster." SpaceFlight Now. 15 November 2007. 22 December 2007. <http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0711/15pleiades/>

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