Artist’s interpretation of protoplanetary disk

Date:18 May 2016 Tags:,

The image above shows a young star surrounded by what looks like clouds, this is a protoplanetary disk. The disk comprises of dense gas and dust that aid planetary formation.

In the area between the star and the disk are bright illuminated lines, created from material falling from the disk along the star’s magnetic field. When this material reaches the surface of the star the gassy giant lights up brightly.

The existence of protoplanetary disks have long been suspected, but was only confirmed in 1994 when researchers from the Rice University used the Hubble telescope’s direct imagery to examine newborn stars in the Orion Nebula.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech