Astronomers witness 'terrestrial planets forming' asteroids smashup

Astronomers have spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, which is possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids that eventually lead to the formation of terrestrial planets.

ANI| Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 13:27 PM IST
Astronomers witness 'terrestrial planets forming' asteroids smashup

Washington: Astronomers have spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, which is possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids that eventually lead to the formation of terrestrial planets.

Lead author Huan Meng said that two big asteroids possibly crashed into each other creating a huge cloud of grains the size of very fine sand, which are now smashing themselves into smithereens and slowly leaking away from the star, which is a violent process of making rocky planets like Earth.

Kate Su, an associate astronomer at the UA Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory and co-author on the study said that combining work with both telescopes over 20 to 25 years will provide a detailed look at how planets like Earth are assembled.

Scientists at the University of Arizona, used data taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to track the star called NGC 2547-ID8, and reported a huge amount of fresh dust around it between August 2012 and January 2013.

This is the first time scientists have collected data before and after a planetary system smashup.