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Going Out Of Business: Planet-forming Disk Turns Off Lights, Locks Doors ...

That surprise you feel when your favorite store turns off its lights, locks up its doors, and suddenly, for no apparent reason, goes out of business? That's just how astronomers felt recently when a dusty disk of rocky debris around a nearby star abruptly shut down and by all appearances went out of business. The star -- designated TYC 8241 2652 and a young analog of our Sun -- only a few years ago displayed all of the characteristics of hosting a solar system in the making. Now, it has transformed completely: very little of the warm dusty material thought to originate from collisions of rocky planets is apparent -- it's a mystery that has astronomers baffled.

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