Unsettled Youth: Spitzer Observes A Chaotic Planetary System

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured this infrared image of a giant halo of very fine dust around the young star HR 8799.

Before our planets found their way to the stable orbits they circle in today, they wiggled and jostled about like unsettled children. Now, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has found a young star with evidence for the same kind of orbital hyperactivity. Young planets circling the star are thought to be disturbing smaller comet-like bodies, causing them to collide and kick up a huge halo of dust.

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