|Artist’s illustration of planets forming in a circumstellar disk like the one surrounding the star LkCa 15. The planets within the disk’s gap sweep up material that would have otherwise fallen onto the star.|
By Mike Wall
For the first time ever, astronomers have directly observed planets in the process of being born.
Scientists have photographed a gas-giant exoplanet forming around a young star called LkCa 15, which lies about 450 light-years from Earth.
“It’s exciting, because it’s the first time that we’ve been able to image forming planets directly,” study lead author Stephanie Sallum, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, told Space.com. “It gives us a system to follow up in the future, in depth, to really understand the details of how planets form.” […]