Four Side-Views of Protoplanetary Disks


The top two images show a central dark area splitting bright zones that flare outwards plus green jets running above and below the dark band. These are clearly side views of dark planetary disks obscuring the central growing star.

The third panel shows a very thin dark disk but no jet. These suggest that most of the material has already reached the star or is in orbit around the star in a concentrated disk. The time is ripe for accretion! The light object near the top is a star.

The fourth panel shows a protoplanetary disk image gathered using infrared light. The central dark disk is clear, as are the bright zones flaring symmetrically away from each other.

Our own early Solar System should have looked similar to the images above!

Next image: Evidence for accretion in protoplanetary disks

Image credit: Hubble Space Telescope; The main source for HST images and explanations is

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