Hubble picture reveals seeds of planet-making
June 2, 1999
CHICAGO (CNN) -- A new Hubble Space Telescope image shows a remarkable view of a developing star called AB Aurigae and its "protoplanetary disk" -- a swirling cloud of gas and dust that surrounds the star and that may one day cool and condense into planets.
The images show visible clumps in the clouds of the disk that astronomers think may be "seeds" of future planets.
In the Hubble picture, a "window pane"-shaped occulting bar blots out the brightest light from the star itself, in order to better image the disk.
The brightest planetary seed "clump" is at 9 o'clock on the image. The extremely bright spot at 5 o'clock is a background star.
AB Aurigae's protoplanetary disk is extremely wide -- 1,300 times Earth's distance to the sun.
The image was taken in January 1999 with an instrument aboard the Hubble called the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph.
It was released at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Chicago.
New Hubble image shows life cycle of stars
American Astronomical Society
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.