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WHAT ARE CIRCUMSTELLAR DISKS? (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper III)

They are a huge clump of matter composed of gas, dust and fragments of planets, in orbit around a star. Researchers reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters that they may have found the oldest such disk around a red dwarf star, called AWI0005x3s, which may be at least 45 million years old. So far, astronomers have only found disks no older than 30 million years old. This discovery is doubly special because it relied on a find by “citizen scientists” as part of a project called Disk Detective, led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Centre.



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