The closest we've ever gotten to seeing this has been in science-fiction movies. European Southern Observatory astronomers report capturing the birth of a gas giant planet for the first time — essentially, we now have a likely image of a Jupiter-sized "protoplanet" in its "womb phase," as it is formed from gas and dust. Scientists aren't totally sure that's what they're seeing — the protoplanet is so far out in space (335 light-years from Earth) that they may be mistaking it for a fully formed planet or some celestial object. If they're right, though, scientists have their best-ever opportunity to study the earliest days of the planet-making process. [Source]
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