Artist’s impression of grains in the disc around a brown dwarf

Rocky planets are thought to form through the random collision and sticking together of what are initially microscopic particles in the disc of material around a star. These tiny grains, known as cosmic dust, are similar to very fine soot or sand. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have for the first time found that the outer region of a dusty disc encircling a brown dwarf — a star-like object, but one too small to shine brightly like a star — also contains millimetre-sized solid grains like those found in denser discs around newborn stars. The surprising finding challenges theories of how rocky, Earth-scale planets form, and suggests that rocky planets may be even more common in the Universe than expected.

This artist’s impression shows these grains of cosmic dust in the disc around the brown dwarf.

Credit:

ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Calçada (ESO)

Bookmark and Share

About the Image

Id:eso1248b
Type:Artwork
Release date:30 November 2012, 12:00
Related releases:eso1248
Size:4000 x 2500 px

About the Object

Name:ISO-Oph 102
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Type : Brown Dwarf
• X - Stars

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.9 MB
Screensize JPEG
191.2 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
269.4 KB
1280x1024
404.8 KB
1600x1200
553.2 KB
1920x1200
652.3 KB
2048x1536
824.5 KB

Also see our