Sun-Like Star Has A Planet Developing Around It Right Now

Scientists the world over are always out for new insights to exactly how planets form around stars early in their existence. Recently scientists snapped images of a very young planet that is currently forming around its parent star. That parent star is called TW Hydrae and it has a planet forming disc orbiting around it. One curious planet is forming around the star at roughly the same distance that Earth is from the sun.

The image you see here was captured using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile. "Previous studies with optical and radio telescopes confirm that this star hosts a prominent disk with features that strongly suggest planets are beginning to coalesce," study lead author Sean Andrews, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), said in a statement.

The images clearly show a series of concentric bright but dusty rings with dark gaps. Those dark gaps suggest that a planet in an Earth-like orbit is forming. It's too early in the research and development of the planet to know if it will end up being similar to Earth or if it will continue to grow into a super-Earth planet. Parent star TW Hydrae is a young star born about 10 million years ago.

The star is also close to us on a cosmic scale at about 175 light-years away. It's protoplanetary disc also faces Earth making it an ideal candidate for observation. The resolution of the images taken by ALMA is about 1 astronomical unit according to the scientists. An AU is around 93 million miles, the distance from the Earth to the sun. The images are the highest-spatial-resolution shots ever taken of a protoplentary disk by ALMA.