The birth of a solar system around HL Tauri captured by the ALMA

the birth of a solar system - hl-tauri-and-its-new-born-solar-system-tb

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a single telescope in Chile and boasts of having 66 high-precision antennas. The ALMA is run by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) made up of 14 European countries and Brazil. The ESO also operates the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

In 2014, the folks over at ALMA released this astoundingly clear (it is very clear for a star situated 450 light years away) image of a young star (according to astronomical standards) with a series of concentric bright rings separated by gaps. HL Tauri is a protostar (a phase in star formation) and is only 1 million years old. The gaps are evidence of the birth of a solar system and planetary formation as the planets sweep their orbits clear of dust and gas causing the dark bands.

ALMA’s Catherine Vlahakis said, “When we first saw this image we were astounded at the spectacular level of detail. HL Tauri is no more than a million years old. Yet already its disc appears to be full of forming planets. This one image alone will revolutionize theories of planet formation.”


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