Another Way to Answer “Were You There?” …

… is to say “we’re still here”.  It’s a little more cryptic, but it alludes to the fact that everywhere we look in the galaxy, we see stars ranging from roughly the size of Jupiter to that of Saturn’s orbit … all in different stages of their evolution as they fuse lighter elements like hydrogen and helium into heavier ones that will eventually be part of another generation of planets.  Sometimes, as in the case below, we see a star that we believe is fairly similar to the way our own system was very early on in its life cycle – about 300,000 years – and we get a glimpse of how ours may have behaved then.

Astronomers Discover Youngest Solar System Yet

An international group of astronomers using the Submillimeter Array and the Combined Array for Millimeter-Wave Astronomy has found evidence of what might be youngest still-forming solar system yet detected.

The protostar, labeled L1527 IRS, resides in a stellar nursery called Taurus Cloud in the constellation Taurus about 450 light-years from Earth. It is about 300,000 years old, compared to the 4.6-billion-year age of the Sun. […]

The young star currently has about one-fifth the mass of the Sun, but will likely pull in material from its surroundings to eventually match the Sun’s mass. The disk surrounding the star contains at least enough mass to make seven Jupiters.

“This is the youngest protostar found thus far to show that [Keplerian rotation which will lead to planetary formation] in a surrounding disk,” Dr Tobin said. “In many ways, this system looks much like we think our own Solar system looked when it was very young.”

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