Deep space ‘hurricanes’ could point the way to alien worlds

Deep space ‘hurricanes’ could point the way to alien worlds

Young stars are surrounded by chaos: clouds of gas, dust and ice swirl in the so-called protoplanetary disk. And when gravity pulls this material together, planets are born.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, the researchers developed a new technique to measure and date the newborn exoplanets that form in these protoplanetary disks. By studying the “small hurricanes” within the protoplanetary disks that are visible in the ALMA data, astronomers can make educated guesses about the exoplanets that caused these vortices to form.

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