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star and protoplanetary disc

Illustration of a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disc

NASA/JPL-Caltech

In an astronomical first, we may have directly observed a star forming at the same time as a world that orbits it, proving a long-held theory about planet formation.

Planets are thought to form in a disc of dust and gas, also known as a protoplanetary disc, surrounding a host star. Theoretical models suggest planets should begin to take shape while the host star is still growing – but until now, we have only seen active evidence of planet formation after the star itself had formed.

Looking at a system …

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