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Birth of Alien Solar System

Talk about your ultimate baby picture! Astronomers have snapped the best image ever seen of the actual birth of new planets around a young, sunlike star.

The astonishingly detailed photo reveals the planet-forming dust disk around the infant star HL Tau. Only one million years old, HL Tau sits in the constellation Taurus, the Bull, and is some 450 light-years from Earth. (Related: "Newborn Star Is Youngest Ever Found.")

Our own Earth was born more than 4.5 billion years ago from a similar "protoplanetary" disk, explaining astronomers' interest in witnessing planetary origins around a nearby star.

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