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Mini Solar Systems? Astronomers find disks around planet-size objects

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11:34am, June 7, 2006

Planet-making disks of gas, dust, and ice are known to form around stars and brown dwarfs. But now, disks with the potential to form planets, or at least moons, have been found outside the solar system orbiting objects that themselves are no heftier than planets.

A study reported this week at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Calgary, Alberta, follows up on evidence that several objects only a few times the mass of Jupiter have such disks surrounding them.

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