Beta Pictoris - Intersecting Disks Schematic

Detailed images of the nearby star Beta Pictoris, taken by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, confirm the existence of not one but two dust disks encircling the star. The images offer tantalizing new evidence for at least one Jupiter-size planet orbiting Beta Pictoris.

The finding ends a decade of scientific speculation that an odd warp in the young star's debris disk may actually be another inclined disk. The recent Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys view - the best visible-light image of Beta Pictoris - clearly shows a distinct secondary disk that is tilted by about 4 degrees from the main disk. The secondary disk is visible out to roughly 24 billion miles(almost 40 billion kilometres) from the star, and probably extends even farther, said astronomers. This Hubble image of Beta Pictoris clearly shows a primary dust disk and a much fainter secondary dust disk. Astronomers used the Advanced Camera's coronagraph to block out the light from the bright star.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo0625d
Type:Artwork
Release date:27 June 2006, 19:00
Size:600 x 466 px

About the Object

Name:Beta Pictoris
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Planetary System
Distance:70 light years


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