For the first time, scientists have witnessed planets being born.
The two — or possibly three — protoplanets are in orbit around a young sun-like star that is about 430 light-years from Earth. Their discovery could give scientists new insight on how planets come to be and what they are like in their formative years.
“We are unambiguously witnessing planet formation,” a team of astronomers and astrophysicists wrote in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Nearly 1,900 planets have been found in orbit around distant stars, but all of them are grown up, like the eight planets in our own solar system. Mature planets can be detected when they pass in front of the stars they orbit, causing their light to dim.