Image Credit: P. Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF

HD100546 and Circumstellar Disk with Extrasolar Planet

In a recently published paper, NOAO astronomer Joan Najita was part of a team that has shown the first evidence for a planet forming in the disk around a young star. This figure is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. A planet forming in the disk has cleared the disk within 13 AU of the star, a distance comparable to that of Saturn from the sun. As gas and dust flows from the circumstellar disk to the planet, this material surrounds the planet as a circumplanetary disk (inset). These rotating disks are believed to be the birthplaces of planetary moons, such as the Galilean moons that orbit Jupiter.

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