In a possible first, a giant, faraway planet may have been caught in the act of growing moons.
Seen in an image from the ALMA Observatory in Chile, the young planet orbits a small star roughly 370 light-years away, and it appears to be swaddled in a dusty, gassy disk—the exact type of structure scientists think produced Jupiter’s many moons billions of years ago. (Tour the moons of our solar system with our interactive atlas.)
“It’s quite possible there might be planet-size moons in formation around it,” study leader Andrea Isella of Rice University says in a statement.
“It’s certainly plausible that giant planets could have giant moon-forming disks around them,” says Stanford University’s Bruce Macintosh of