Sunday, December 2, 2007

Young Sun-like Star Already a Parent?

The Spitzer Space Telescope has discovered a young Sun-like star, UX Tau A, may already be a parent, even though it is only 1 million years old! Within the thick dust disk surrounding the star is a gap - a gap indicative of the sweeping action of a planet (or planets); planets that form out of primordial dust disks tend to clear a path through the disk. A process called photoevaporation can also clear away some of the disk from the star outward some distance, but since there is a thick ring of dust close to the star, then the gap, then another thick ring of dust - photoevaporation cannot be the cause.

If this is the case, then it is yet more evidence that stars and planets are a common combo, like peanut butter and jam, ham and eggs, or like Homer and doughnuts.

Reference:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Youthful Star Sprouts Planets Early." SpaceRef. 29 November 2007. 2 December 2007. <http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.nl.html?pid=24132>

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