Astronomers have made the first clear detection of a dusty disk surrounding an exoplanet, which could eventually go on to form moons.
Astronomers investigate the spiral arms of a young star's disk and find evidence of a disk so massive that it could collapse to form planets.
The shadow cast by a protoplanetary disk takes the shape of a bat — and over time, flaps like one, too. The eery shadow could help astronomers understand the planet-forming material inside the disk.
Infant worlds might gobble up dust quickly, the interstellar environment might feed protoplanetary disks, or planet-building dust could be hiding in plain sight. Although disks of gas and dust around young stars are a necessary precursor to planet formation, an expanded survey of stars in our Galaxy confirms earlier doubts…