New Webb Telescope Research Sheds Light on Rocky Planet Formation

Rebecca Jean T.
6 min readFeb 29, 2024

In November of 2023, two separate research endeavors using the James Webb Space Telescope peered into the planet-forming disks surrounding protostars in our galaxy to learn more about how planets are created. Both papers have found new information on how rocky planets are formed, increasing our understanding of planetary evolution and the types of conditions in which rocky worlds can form.

Concept art of reddish purple protoplanetary disk around a white star. A red planet is located in the upper right corner.
Concept art of star PDS 70 and its protoplanetary disk. Water vapor has been detected in the inner part of the disk, where rocky planets may be forming. The illustration also features one of two known protoplanets currently in the disk. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, J. Olmsted (STScI).

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Rebecca Jean T.

Published author on NASA’s Radio Jove newsletter and contributing writer for Aha!. Researching science topics to deliver to you in bite-sized stories.