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Planet formation in protoplanetary disc, illustration

Planet formation in protoplanetary disc, illustration

F020/7647

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Illustration of the central regions of a protoplanetary disc. Planets are formed inside giant discs of gas and dust called protoplanetary discs, or proplyds for short. They are a natural consequence of the star formation process, with the star forming at the centre and the planets gradually accreting from leftover materials in the disc. In this image we take a look inside a proplyd close to the newly forming star in its T Tauri stage. These young stars are highly magnetic and probably feature vas starspots, analogous to sunspots but far larger. The rocky materials in the disc are gathering into progressively larger bodies, and will one day merge into fully fledged worlds.

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