Hubble photo of a star can help scientists study how planets are born

The Hubble telescope has already taken a picture of the Beta Pictoris, a 20-million-year-old star surrounded by a large disk of dust and gas located 63.4 light years from our solar system, back in 1997. But in 2009, scientists discovered a giant planet orbiting that star once every 18 to 20 years — the first planet they’ve ever seen that’s embedded in a debris disk. So in 2012, they used the Hubble again to take a clearer picture of the star in visible light, which they’ve just released to the public. The image reveals that the disk has barely changed since 1997 and that the giant planet’s gravity has distorted its inner part.

Due to this debris disk, the Beta Pictoris is a great example of what a young solar system looks like. All those rocks and gas, which are also the biggest source of interstellar meteoroids in our system, could be forming more new planets, and thus could lead to new insight on how planets are born.

[Image Credit: NASA, ESA, University of Arizona]

Filed under:


Source: NASA (1), 2 (Google Plus)

Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On