Astronomers may have spotted a baby planet around a star called T Cha, which is estimated to be 7 million years old — still in its diapers, compared to the 4.5-billion-year-old Sun. What makes this an unusual discovery is that it may be the first time astronomers have witnessed an individual planet in the process of forming. The evidence hinges on a suspicious gap in the dusty disk surrounding the newborn star, suggesting that some kind of object has formed and swept out the material in its orbit.
Astronomers have dubbed dusty planet-forming disks “proplyds,” short for “proto-planetary disks.” The Hubblecast video below shows astonishing images of several proplyds observed in the Orion Nebula.
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