Planet Formation

Image of Planet Forming Disk Credit: ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); C. Brogan, B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Here is an amazing image of a new star surrounded by a disk of gas that already is forming clumps that will eventually condense into planets. Read more details at the article here.

Our own solar system is 4.6 billion years old, so we floated around and looked like this then. And in another few billion years, when the gases of that disk will have condensed, and  planets will have formed, perhaps one of those planets will be just warm enough for liquid water to exist and not too hot for the greenhouse effect to go crazy, just maybe some life may develop.

And if by chance that life were to gaze up into the sky at our own sun, it will be a red giant close to the end of its life. It will be bigger than the orbit of Venus. Earth is expected to be able to support life for only another billion years. By then it will long have been turned into a dead ball of cinder.

And they – should they exist – would look at our sun and never know we were ever here.


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