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Young Stellar Disks The Vault

These Hubble images don't show actual planets, but rather the edge-on disks of gas and dust that eventually condense to form planets around young stars. Although astronomers have discovered about 30 possible extrasolar planets over the past few years, they have never gotten such detailed pictures of the planet-forming environments around newborn stars. Located 450 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, the stars all sport dusty disks that appear as dark bands. The disks are believed to be eight to 16 times the diameter of Neptune's orbit. In addition, the images show that raw material is still falling into these disks and driving jets of gas from the forming stars.


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