ALMA tell us…

Courtesy European Southern Observatory

Our solar system is thought to have formed when a shockwave from a supernova passing through a cloud of gas caused what’s now our sun to ignite. The remaining material, under the emerging star’s gravity and spin, combined and collected over eons into planets in distinct orbits including one that became capable of hosting life.

A stunning new image from the European Southern Observatory now shows this same system-forming process initiating around a distant young star. The data were collected by the truly gonzo ALMA array of radio telescopes built on a high, dry mountaintop in Chile. Current theories do not expect a star so young to be capable of such things. This is truly a big deal and will cause a lot of headscratching in the astronomy community.

For more on the telescopes that made this possible:

 

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