By Valentin Christiaens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
How do giant planets form? The latest generation of sub-millimetre interferometric arrays and infrared instruments at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) have recently provided an unprecedented direct view of protoplanetary discs — the birth place of planets. Thanks to these facilities, astronomers have found over the past few years a wealth of features in these discs indicating dynamical interactions with embedded planets, including cavities, annular gaps, spiral arms and asymmetries (see above). Are these structures induced by planets?
Michael Murphy is the Australian representative on the ESO Science Technical Committee. He can be reached at email@example.com