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Protoplanetary disk abruptly disappears
Posted: Thu, Jul 5, 2012, 1:30 PM ET (1730 GMT)
Protoplanetary disk around TYC 8241 2652 (Gemini Obs./L. Cook) A dust disk spotted around a young star just a few years ago has disappeared in the course of just a few years, puzzling astronomers. In a paper published in the current edition of the journal Nature, astronomers reported that they are no longer able to detect a warm disk of dust surrounding the star TYC 8241 2652. That disk was discovered in data from NASA's IRAS satellite in 1983, and seen in follow-up observations for 25 years. However, astronomers were unable to see it in infrared observations at the Gemini South observatory in Chile two months ago, leading astronomers to conclude that the warm, infrared-emitting dust disappeared within the last 2.5 years. Astronomers, who initially thought the non-detection of the disk was an error, don't have a firm explanation for the loss of the dust. The observations could reshape existing models for the formation of solar systems from such protoplanetary disks around new stars.
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