An image of a mesmerizing cosmic spiral, twisting and swirling around a galactic maw, may be the first direct evidence of the birth of a planet ever captured by humanity.
The European Southern Observatory released a picture Wednesday of what astronomers believe shows the process of cosmic matter in the midst of a gravitational tipping point, collapsing into a new world around a nearby star.
Astronomers said the dramatic scene offers a rare glimpse into the formation of a baby planet, which could help scientists better understand how new planets come to exist around stars.
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“Thousands of exoplanets have been identified so far, but little is known about how they form,” Anthony Boccaletti, an astronomer at the Observatoire de Paris in France and the lead author of a new study detailing the discovery, said in a statement.
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