Simulated image of planetary formation

False colour image of two gas giant protoplanets that have formedquickly in a disk of gas and dust. Each of the two protoplanets(yellow-red blobs) contains several Jupiter-masses of gas and dust.They orbit at distances of about 5 and 10 times the Earth's distancefrom the Sun in this theoretical model, at the orbital distances ofJupiter and Saturn in our own solar system. The protoplanetssweep up all the gas close to their orbits, leaving behind emptygaps (black) in the disk (purple). A solar-type star lies unseenat the center of the disk. These protoplanets formed in about 1000 years by the fastest known mechanism, the disk instabilitymechanism. If this star had a close binary star companion, theseprotoplanets might well be ejected outward from these otherwisestable orbits.


A. Boss (Carnegie Institute of Washington)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:28 May 1998, 19:00
Size:600 x 600 px

About the Object

Type:Milky Way : Star
Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Planetary System

Image Formats

Large JPEG
98.6 KB
Screensize JPEG
175.7 KB

Also see our

Accelerated by CDN77