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Dust traps may explain planet formation
Posted: Fri, Jun 7, 2013, 8:18 AM ET (1218 GMT)
IRS 48 protoplanetary dust trap (NRAO) Observations of a protoplanetary disk around a star have given astronomers evidence to support models for the formation of planets. In a paper in this week's issue of the journal Science, astronomers reported the discovery of a lopsided bulge in the outer disk surrounding the star IRS 48, about 390 light-years away, in observations by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). That bulge, astronomers believe, is a "dust trap" formed by vortices in the star's dust disk created by a gas giant planet. Astronomers have previously hypothesized that such dust traps were needed to allow the formation of planets without collisions or inward migration towards the star that would stifle their growth.
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