Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-image of the day: terrestrial planet-formation in the Pleiades

First of all, what a beautiful photo of the Pleiades Star Cluster:

Click the image to see the story.

The arrow in the above photo points to a star where astronomers have discovered terrestrial (Venus-, Earth-, and Mars-like) planet-formation resulting from collisions like this:

Click the image to see the story.

Where does the planet-formation idea come from when we can't actually photograph it? "The astronomers analyzed emissions from countless microscopic dust particles and concluded that the most likely explanation is that the particles are debris from the violent collision of planets or planetary embryos. Song calls the dust particles the 'building blocks of planets,' which can accumulate into comets and small asteroid-size bodies and then clump together to form planetary embryos, eventually becoming full-fledged planets. 'In the process of creating rocky, terrestrial planets, some objects collide and grow into planets, while others shatter into dust,' Song said. "'We are seeing that dust.'"

Tags: astronomy

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