Thanks to Voyager and Cassini, we’ve been able to detect Saturn’s F ring giving birth to moons. Sure, the moons don’t last very long before they disintegrate, but celestial births are still pretty exciting (and they don’t involve any expensive registries or showers). Recently, the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) radio telescope (which is actually a set of 66 individual telescopes), received ah high-resolution upgrade that allowed it to record images of planets being born around a young star.
Stars such as our sun are formed when gravity condenses gas and dust clouds into a core. Planets then form inside of those dense clouds, which makes them difficult to observe. However, ALMA, located in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, was able to use longer wavelengths thanks to the antennas recently spaced 15 kilometers apart, which allows for comparisons of signals. These upgrades were implemented in September, and since then, the telescope’s target has been HL Tau, the “infant” star (it’s less than a million years old, after all) in the Taurus constellation roughly 450 light years from Earth. According to research, the new images ALMA obtained are tantamount to me photographing a penny from 70 miles away.