New planet seen forming inside gas cloud

Astronomers studying the disc of gas and dust surrounding the young star HD 100546, which at 335 light-years is relatively near to Earth, believe they are witnessing the birth of a gas giant similar to Jupiter, although up to three times larger.
If their discovery is confirmed, it would allow huge leaps in our understanding of how planets take shape by allowing scientists to compare their theories against direct observations from the new planet.
Dr Sascha Quanz of ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, explained: "So far, planet formation has mostly been a topic tackled by computer simulations.
“If our discovery is indeed a forming planet, then for the first time scientists will be able to study the planet formation process and the interaction of a forming planet and its natal environment empirically at a very early stage.
It has already been suggested that a giant planet orbits HD 100546, a star which has been rigorously studied by astronomers, at about six times the distance from the star as the Earth is from the Sun.
The new candidate planet is in the even more distant reaches of its solar system, according to the study in the Astrophysical Journal Letters – about ten times further from its parent star than Earth.
Giant planets are thought to grow by drawing in remnants of gas and dust which are left behind after a star forms. The findings appear to support this theory, with signs of interaction between the candidate planet and the areas of dust and gas immediately around it.
Evidence points to the object seen by astronomers being a planet, although there is a small chance the signal they are detecting could come from another source, or that it could be a fully formed planet which has been knocked out of orbit.
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