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A. A Cosmic Discovery

Narrator: This is Science Today. Space scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have discovered comets swarming around two nearby stars - a strong indication that planets are in the making. Lead researcher Barry Welsh says only two other stars have been found with such activity.

Welsh: We've found two, which makes the total number of stars with comets going >round them that people know about to a grand total of four now. So, four's not a big number so we're going to see if we can find a lot more.

Narrator: Welsh says detecting planet formation is of great interest but difficult since the gases and dust involved obscure the view. So Welsh and his colleagues took a different approach.

Welsh: I don't actually look for planets, I look for things that are left over after planets have been formed. Sort of like the cosmic debris or planetary debris. There's a big debate about how solar systems are formed. There are many theories out there. If we look at what's left after the planets have been formed, it might give us an indication of what the planets were actually formed from or how they were made.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.