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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an array of 64 radio dishes in Chile, has become famous for producing stunning images of protoplanetary disks, the flattened clouds of dust and gas from which planets form around young stars. The images show bright rings separated by dark gaps, tantalizing astronomers with the idea that the gravity of nascent planets has swept the gaps clean of material.
But ALMA doesn’t have the resolution to see planets themselves, so researchers have been left guessing exactly how and where they are born. Now, two teams have detected three planets, all around the same star, by detecting the swirl of gas around them as they move.
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One team detected two planets circling the star HD 163296, a young star about...
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