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ESO/L. Calçada

Astronomers are watching the birth of a planet

Astronomers think they may be watching the birth of a Jupiter-like gas planet about 335 light-years from Earth, PlanetS reports. Found in a large disk of gas and dust that encircles its host star, the still-forming planet—depicted in the artist’s impression above—is about 50 times farther away from its star than Earth is from the sun. In the past, scientists have largely relied on theory and computer simulations to understand how, where, and when such planets form. The new observations provide the first opportunity to gain empirical information about the very early stages of the process, the researchers say in a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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