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Science. 2005 Jan 7;307(5706):68-71.

Disks around stars and the growth of planetary systems.

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Physics and Astronomy, University of St. Andrews, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, UK.


Circumstellar disks play a vital evolutionary role, providing a way to move gas inward and onto a young star. The outward transfer of angular momentum allows the star to contract without breaking up, and the remnant disk of gas and particles is the reservoir for forming planets. High-resolution spectroscopy is uncovering planetary dynamics and motion within the remnant disk, and imaging at infrared to millimeter wavelengths resolves disk structure over billions of years of evolution. Most stars are born with a disk, and models of planet formation need to form such bodies from the disk material within the disk's 10-million-year life-span.


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