Expert on planet formation, new discovery


Ruobing Dong, University of Victoria astronomer and lead investigator of an international team, uncovers the first evidence of a stellar intruder object disturbing the protoplanetary disk—or birthplace of planets. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Like catching lightning in a jar, lead investigator Ruobing Dong together with an international research team have uncovered the first evidence of a flyby, an intruder object disturbing the protoplanetary disk—or birthplace of planets. Because it happens so fast and can’t be predicted, few have been able to capture a flyby incident before. This flyby occurred past the disk surrounding the Z Canis Majoris star and will impact planet formation—an idea only theorized until now. Their findings are published in Nature Astronomy today.

Ruobing Dong is available to media for comment:

Ruobing Dong (physics and astronomy) is an expert in observational planet formation. He studies how planets form by examining the protoplanetary disk, made of dust and gas, surrounding a newborn star. Dong can discuss this special stellar flyby event, what it means for our understanding of planet formation and the origins of the Universe. (Office: 250-721-7725 / 250-721-7700 or

Computer simulation of a stellar flyby event. The disk-like object in the middle of the frame is a protoplanetary disk surrounding a newborn protostar. The dot coming from the lower right corner is another protostar that happens to come into proximity of the first one. The intruder gravitationally interacts with the disk, and produces structures in the disk. Credit: Nicolas Cuello / Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS

Read the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) release.

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A media kit containing high-resolution photos, images and computer simulations is available on Dropbox.


Media contacts

Dorothy Eggenberger (Communications Officer, Science) at 250-721-8745 or 250-721-8745

Robyn Quinn (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-415-7020 or

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Keywords: research, astronomy, industry partnerships, partnerships, physics, international

People: Ruobing Dong

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