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SCI/TECH: NASA Finds Smallest Body With Potential for Planetary System

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posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 08:35 AM
New observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal surprisingly large dust clouds around several stars. These clouds most likely flared up when rocky, embryonic planets smashed together. The Earth's own Moon may have formed from such a catastrophe. Prior to these new results, astronomers thought planets were formed under less chaotic circumstances.
Astronomers have found the smallest known celestial body with planet-building material around it, providing a clue to how planets form and raising the question of whether life could emerge in such a system, NASA said.

A disc of dusty material surrounding a so-called "brown dwarf,'' or "failed star'' was found six months ago by astronomer Kevin Luhman and colleagues at the Gemini Observatory in Chile, using NASA's orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement e-mailed early today.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

As I understand it Hubble also played a large roll in this discovery although it is not mentioned in the article.

The sad part of this is that lack of funding will end the Hubble program in the near future. Imagine what we could learn if they did not end Hubble support.

[edit on 8-2-2005 by Banshee]

posted on Feb, 8 2005 @ 10:28 AM
is this a topic about hubble? or the dust clouds?

Hubble is getting old, it does need to get replaced. And it will. But moderan adaptive optics are starting to catch up to the clarity you would find with space based telescopes.

It is nice to find something besides large gas giants detected by star wobbles. I think Dust partiles are a type of smoking gun for more rock like planets.


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