Game Changer: Webb Telescope Witnesses the Death of a Planet-Forming Disk

6th March, 2024


● Planets are born within swirling gas and dust disks surrounding young stars. ● These disks act like cosmic construction sites, providing the raw materials for planets to form. ● Until now, witnessing the end stage of one of these disks has been elusive.

Birthplaces of Planets

James Webb's Unprecedented View

● With its infrared vision, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can peer into the dusty depths of planet-forming disks. ● JWST has captured images of a young star with a disk in the final dispersal stages.

A Fading Disk

● The disk in the JWST images is no longer a dense swirling cloud. ● It has thinned out significantly and is actively blown away by the star's radiation. ● This signals the end of the active planet-forming era around this star.

Winds of Change

● Scientists have detected winds emanating from this aging disk for the first time. ● These winds carry away the remaining gas and dust, leaving the young planets behind.

6Heading: What Does This Mean for Planet Formation?

● This discovery gives us a timeline – we know how long planets must gobble up the gas in their disk before it disappears. ● It helps us understand the factors influencing planet formation.

Exoplanet Insights

● Studying the dispersal of planet-forming disks aids in understanding exoplanets (planets outside our solar system). ● It helps explain the diversity of planet types we observe in the universe.