Magazine article Science News

'Hot Spots' Predict Breast Cancer's Return

Magazine article Science News

'Hot Spots' Predict Breast Cancer's Return

Article excerpt

Turning the Hubble Space Telescope toward the Orion Nebula, astronomers have discovered and photographed 15 infant stars surrounded by dense, flattened disks of dust. These images provide the strongest evidence to date, they say, that many young stars develop the dust rings required for planet formation.

The presence of such a large number of protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula - a typical gaseous, star-forming region in the constellation Orion- suggests that many suns besides our own possess the ability to evolve planets, according to C. Robert O'Dell of Rice University in Houston, who led the imaging project.

"The disks are a missing link in our understanding of how planets like those in our solar system form:' O'Dell maintains. "Their discovery establishes that the basic material of planets exists around a large fraction of stars."

Current theory on planet formation supported largely by indirect measurements of light reflected or emitted from suspected protoplanetary disks - holds that under certain conditions stars develop dense, revolving dust disks as they hatch in stellar nurseries such as the Orion Nebula.

Scientists have also detected traces of protoplanetary disks in a nebulous region that stretches across the constellations Taurus and Auriga. The dust in such disks emits infrared energy and induces telltale, measurable changes in the light of their central stars (SN: 10/3/92, p. 213).

Researchers do not know how often or under what conditions planets evolve from these dusty disks, says Robert A. …

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