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News Release Archive:

News Release 339 of 959

January 7, 2007 12:00 PM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2007-02

Hubble Observations Provide Insight into Planet Birth

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

January 7, 2007: Hubble observed a "blizzard" of particles in a disk around a young star revealing the process by which planets grow from tiny dust grains. The particles are as fluffy as snowflakes and are roughly ten times larger than typical interstellar dust grains. They were detected in a disk encircling the 12-million-year-old star AU Microscopii. The star is 32 light-years away in the southern constellation of Microscopium, the Microscope.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, J. R. Graham and P. Kalas (University of California, Berkeley), and B. Matthews (Hertzberg Institute of Astrophysics)