ALMA Discovers Young Protostellar Disk with Spiral Arm. Image Credit: ALMA/ Lee et al.

ALMA Discovers Young Protostellar Disk with Spiral Arm

The team utilized ALMA to obtain a detailed image of the disk in dust emission, revealing the internal structures of the disk, including the spiral arm.


ALMA has made another stunning discovery. This time, ALMA discovered a young protostellar wisk with a spiral arm.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is enabling scientists to probe one of the youngest known protostellar disks, revealing a spiral structure pivotal to the formation of planets.

ALMA Discovers Young Protostellar Disk

Utilizing ALMA’s cutting-edge capabilities, researchers have been able to journey back to the genesis of star and planet formation. In a celestial system known as HH 211 in the constellation Perseus, located 1000 light-years away, a team headed by Chin-Fei Lee of the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taiwan, has discovered one of the youngest recorded protostellar disks. This disk, a mere 35,000 years old, stretches out to a size akin to the orbit of Uranus and houses a captivating spiral structure.

A Spiral Structure Playing a Key Role

Within the disk, the team located a spiral arm that could be instrumental in transferring material towards the central protostar, a process key to the birth of stars and planets. Intriguingly, the spiral arm displays clumpy features, hinting that the genesis of planets might already be in progress.


The team utilized ALMA to obtain a detailed image of the disk in dust emission, revealing the internal structures of the disk, including the spiral arm.

Implications for Understanding Stellar System Evolution

This breakthrough discovery enhances the astronomical community’s understanding of how stars and planets are born in the earliest stages of a stellar system’s evolution. The presence of a spiral arm in such a nascent disk suggests these arms could be a common feature in protostellar disk formation.

Chin-Fei Lee, the lead author of the work, expressed his excitement: “Unveiling the early structure of the protostellar disk in HH 211 and detecting a spiral arm in the disk midplane has profound implications for the accretion process, as spiral arms are predicted to transport disk material inward towards central protostars. The observed spiral appears clumpy, indicating it may already be starting to form planets.”


The researchers created a model based on the ALMA-captured image, effectively reproducing the disk structure and the spiral arm.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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