Pebble-size particles may kick start planet formation
A radio/optical composite of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, which includes the Orion Nebula (bottom), featuring a dust-rich, star-forming filament called OMC-2/3. Orange: Green Bank Telescope data.
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Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Green Bank Telescope have discovered that filaments of star-forming gas near the Orion Nebula may be brimming with pebble-size particles--planetary building blocks 100 to 1,000 times larger than the dust grains typically found around protostars. If confirmed, these dense ribbons of rocky material may well represent a new, mid-size class of interstellar particles that could help jump-start planet formation. Though incredibly small compared to even the most modest of asteroids, dust grains on the order of a few millimeters to a centimeter are incredibly large for such young star-forming regions.
To learn more about this research, see the National Radio Astronomy Observatory news story Orion Rocks! Pebble-Size Particles May Jump-Start Planet Formation. (Date image taken: Unknown; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: March 24, 2017)
Credit: S. Schnee, et al.; B. Saxton, B. Kent (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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