Hubble Photos Capture The Formation Of Planetary Systems

Researchers have used new image processing techniques to reveal two images of planetary systems forming around their home stars. The images are, according to NASA, “two treasures that were hiding in the Hubble archives”. They are spectacular.

Discovered by a team led by Rémi Soummer — from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland — the stars were initially captured by the Hubble’s Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer in 1999 and 2006. The space agency says that “when Hubble first viewed the stars no disks were detected”. Soummer and his team used “improvements in image processing, including algorithms used for face-recognition software” to analyse the images again, obtaining these pictures of the disk, which you can see reinterpreted by an artist at the bottom.

This bring the total of these images to 23. Here’s a selection of the other ones.

It’s incredible that we can witness this. This is what our own solar system looked like 4.5 billions of years ago.