About 1,300 light-years away, a young triple-star system is warping and splitting a disk of dust and gas where planets could one day form. Unlike the flat disk that gave rise to the planets in our own Solar System, the system’s disk consists of three misaligned rings.
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ALMA, in which ESO is a partner, and the SPHERE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope have imaged GW Orionis, a triple star system with a peculiar inner region. Unlike the flat planet-forming discs we see around many stars, GW Orionis features a warped disc, deformed by the movements of the three stars at its centre. This composite image shows both the ALMA and SPHERE observations of the disc. The ALMA image shows the disc’s ringed structure, with the innermost ring (part of which is visible as an oblong dot at the very centre of the image) separated
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