Ars Technica - New telescope array captures planet-forming disk orbiting distant star
John Timmer on the recent discovery, that is definitely good news for people interested in how planets formed.
Yesterday, the European Southern Observatory released the first images taken with the upgraded version of its ALMA telescope. The images capture a disk of material orbiting the young star HL Tauri in exquisite detail, showing gaps in the disk that are likely to be created by the formation of larger, potentially planet-sized bodies.
ALMA stands for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. As its name implies, it’s located in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest regions on the planet. It’s also placed at 5,000 meters above sea level; the combination limits the imaging complications posed by Earth’s atmosphere. ALMA is an array of multiple individual telescopes, with the final image constructed by mathematically processing the input of each individual telescope.