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Taun

Birth of a new Solar System?

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The birth of a new solar system? 14-billion-mile-wide disc shows young star 'pulling' planets into place around itself

  • Astronomers investigating whether young planets might be shaping disc
  • Vision of 'early years' of young solar system
  • Gas disc forming round SINGLE star

By Rob Waugh

UPDATED: 05:27 EST, 8 May 2012

A 14-billion-mile-wide gas cloud is offering an incredible vision of the early years of a young solar system.

The star is 400 light years away from Earth, in the constellation Lupus, the wolf.

The young star, known as SAO 206462, is surrounded by a disc of gas 14billion miles across - and its gravitational pull has arranged the disc into two spiral arms.

The spiral arms forming has led astronomers to investigate whether young planets might be 'shaping' the disc of gas around the star.

Detailed computer simulations have shown us that the gravitational pull of a planet inside a circumstellar disk can perturb gas and dust, creating spiral arms,’ said Carol Grady, an astronomer with Eureka Scientific, Inc., who is based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

‘Now, for the first time, we're seeing these dynamical features.’

The unprecedented phenomenon could suggest that gas and debris are being formed into planets orbiting the star.

The image was captured by the Subaru telescope, and eight-metre instrument perched on the summit of Mauna Kea, a volcano in Hawaii.

This unique viewpoint allows the telescope to get a clear view of the night sky.

Researcher John Wisniewski: 'What we're finding is that once these systems reach ages of a few million years — that’s young for a star - their discs begin to show all kinds of interesting shapes.

'We’ve seen rings, divots, gaps - and now spiral features. Many of these structures could be caused by planets moving within the discs.'

http://www.dailymail...les-across.html

SAO206462.jpg

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Wow ! That's a nice piece of information.

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I'm still trying to understand how we can figure out and "see" so much going on so far away.

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I'm still trying to understand how we can figure out and "see" so much going on so far away.

As far as I understand.. it's all about gathering light... In a standard telescope,

basically the larger the mirror, the more light is gathered... The more light that

is gathered, the more 'detail' can be detected... Also, the amount of time spent

on a single spot, will reveal more detail as well, as it allows more light to be gathered

from the same source...

I have read reports that state that if we placed a series of telescopes in space,

with thousands of miles between them, link them together, and focus on the same

point in space, we would in effect have a mirror that is thousands of miles across

rather than the one in the original report that is a 'mere' 8 meters... Think of the

detail we could gather then!!

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Think of the detail we could gather then!!

If that means we could watch aliens at home on the toilet, in detail, count me out! :P

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If that means we could watch aliens at home on the toilet, in detail, count me out! :P

Well - if they are silly enough to not put roofs over their toilets,

then I'm sure we have people silly enough to peek in at them...

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Well - if they are silly enough to not put roofs over their toilets,

then I'm sure we have people silly enough to peek in at them...

....I never realised that this was the motivation behind telescope advancement :whistle:

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Posted (edited)

....I never realised that this was the motivation behind telescope advancement :whistle:

Sure... why else would we want to?... Of course we might be able to watch the ACTUAL Miss Universe Contest...

edit: Or Mister Universe - depending...

Edited by Taun

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