SUMMARY: IRAS — The Infrared Astronomical Satellite — was launched in 1983 and was the first spacecraft to map the entire sky recording over 350,000 sources, and there were some early surprises in the data too. The bright star Vega in the constellation of Lyra was seen to have a cool accretion disk of a primordial Vega [solar] system in the process of formation. A decade later, astronomers discovered another larger accretion disk of dusty material, this time around the star Formalhaut in the constellation of the Southern Fish, and many more have followed since. Thereafter a new astronomical study was created with to examine primordial accretion disks around other stars. Here Richard Pearson talks to astronomer Michiel Min about stellar planetary systems.
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