Telescope spies 'youngest' planet An impression of what it might be like in the CoKu Tau 4 system Nasa's Spitzer telescope has found evidence around a distant star for a planet that may be less than one million years old. The infrared space observatory studied five stars in the constellation Taurus, about 420 light-years away. All had dusty discs around them in which new planets are presumed to be forming out of accreting material. And for the star CoKu Tau 4, Spitzer saw a clearing in the disc which could have been swept clean by a new world. .... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3755617.stm Spitzer telescope: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/: NASA has announced new findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope including the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkle throughout several "planetary construction zones," or dusty planet-formin discs, which circle infant stars --- Spectra Show Protoplanetary Disc Structures How can you tell if a star has a protoplanetary disc around it, when the disc is too small to image directly? http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-08/ssc2004-08c.shtml --- Fingerprints. http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2004-08/ssc2004-08b.shtml Using sensitive instruments onboard NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists have seen the first building blocks of planets, and possibly future life, deep within dusty discs around young stars. The image shows spectra, obtained by Spitzer's infrared spectrograph, of two stars that are so young they are still embedded in protoplanetary discs. These thick discs of gas and dust are the leftover material from the formation of the stars themselves. The spectra are graphical representations of a celestial object's unique blend of light. Characteristic patterns, or fingerprints, within the spectra allow astronomers to identify the object's chemical composition .... and the presence of silicates, which are chemically similar to beach sand.