space telescope

space telescope

NASA Telescope Observes Planet-Forming Asteroid Collision

3d ago
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Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA scientists are observing the aftermath of two asteroids that collided in the vicinity of a sun-like star. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA scientists are observing the aftermath of two asteroids that collided in the vicinity of a sun-like star. Researchers noticed a new cloud of dust surrounding the star, which is estimated to be 35 million years old, located around 12 hundred light years away from Earth. They believe that the dust cloud was caused by the impact of two asteroids, which is how terrestrial planets like Earth start to take shape in the universe. Dust collects around young stars to form asteroids that hit each other, leaving behind rocky debris that eventually comes together as proto-planets. Then after millions of years, some of the proto-planets grow into terrestrial type planets. This is the first time that scientists have been able to directly observe a planetary system impact. Co-author of the study, George Rieke from the University of Arizona is quoted as saying: "We are watching rocky planet formation happen right in front of us. This is a unique chance to study this process in near real-time." Scientists are continuing to watch the star and the dust cloud using the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operating about 44 million miles away from planet Earth.