“Hurricanes” in space could point the way to alien worlds

“Hurricanes” in space could point the way to alien worlds

“Hurricanes” in space could point the way to alien worlds

Young stars are surrounded by chaos: clouds of gas, dust and ice swirl around in what is known as a protoplanetary disk. And when gravity holds this material together, planets are born.

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

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