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Formation of Planets in a Protoplanetary Disk

The artist conception shows a newly formed star surrounded by a swirling protoplanetary disk of dust and gas. Debris coalesces to create rocky 'planetesimals' that collide and grow to eventually form planets. The results of this study show that small planets form around stars with a wide range of heavy element content suggesting that their existence might be widespread in the galaxy. Credit: University of Copenhagen/Lars Buchhave
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