HL Tauri, or HL Tau for short, is a very young star in the constellation Taurus, approximately 450 light-years from Earth in the Taurus Molecular Cloud. It is surrounded by a protoplanetary disk marked by dark bands visible in submillimeter radiation. As it begins to run low on fuel, it is becoming unstable.
Why does this giant disk have gaps? The exciting and probable answer is that the gaps are caused by planets. A mystery is how planets massive enough to create these gaps formed so quickly, since the entire HL Tauri star system is only about one million years old.
Image : ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NSF