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A potential mini solar system

Yael Petar

Astronomers have discovered what they believe to be the birth of the smallest known solar system. While observing through ground-based telescopes, as well as through space telescopes, scientists have spotted a brown dwarf - or dim star - less than a hundred solar masses, located at the center of what appears to be a disk of dust and gas surrounding it.
The brown dwarf and the disk around it - 500 light-years away, and located in the constellation Chamaeleon - appear to be undergoing the process of forming planets, which could one day form into a solar system, says Kevin Luhman of Pennsylvania State University, who led the discovery.
It has been widely believed for a long time that our solar system was formed from a huge cloud of dust and gas, the collapse of which caused the formation of the sun and the planets, 4.5 billion years ago.

The new find is the smallest brown dwarf discovered, around which star formation takes place. If the disc crystallizes into planets, the resulting solar system will be 100 times smaller than ours, scientists say.

Brown dwarfs, which are larger than planets, but much smaller than Saturn (suns), are considered balls of gas that have failed to gather enough mass to create nuclear combustion.
The discovery was made using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope, in addition to star observatories on the ground. The results of the research will be published on December 10 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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For the original post by the University of Pennsylvania
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