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Space Science

Nearby Star Could Host a Baby Solar System 24

astroengine writes "With the help of Europe's Herschel Space Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, a team of astronomers have made a lucky discovery about TW Hydrae, the nearest star to the solar system that plays host to a protoplanetary disk. Not only have they gained a more precise estimate of the mass of the material inside the protoplanetary disk, they've also found that it may produce a system of worlds similar to that of the solar system. TW Hydrae may look like the solar system did over 4 billion years ago (abstract). Interestingly, TW Hydrae is also a star that would normally be considered too mature to host a protoplanetary disk. "If there's no chance your project can fail, you're probably not doing very interesting science. TW Hydrae is a good example of how a calculated scientific gamble can pay off," said Thomas Henning, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg."
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Nearby Star Could Host a Baby Solar System

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  • Re:This is exciting. (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 30, 2013 @04:39PM (#42741943) Homepage

    This stuff always amazes me. About 20 years ago when I hung out with astrophysics geeks, we were just on the cusp of being able to be in a position to start identifying exoplanets.

    Now we find them all over the place, surrounding stars we never thought would be able to have them. Hell, I think the estimates for the number of planets which would exist was vastly smaller than what we know now.

    The universe is far more vast and complex than we've ever guessed ... and we just keep finding new stuff. And that's friggin' awesome.

Air is water with holes in it.