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Interstellar
This Hubble Space Telescope view of Beta Pictoris clearly shows a primary dust disk and a much fainter secondary dust disk. The secondary disk extends at least 24 billion miles from the star and is tilted roughly 4 to 5 degrees from the primary disk. The secondary disk is circumstantial evidence for the existence of a planet in a similarly inclined orbit. The planet may have indirectly formed the secondary disk by sweeping up smaller planetesimals –“ chunks of rock and/or ice –“ from the main disk. The planetesimals then collide, producing the dust seen in the disk. The image, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), is the sharpest visible-light view of the disks around Beta Pictoris. Credit: Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Golimowski (Johns Hopkins University), D. Ardila (IPAC), J. Krist (JPL), M. Clampin (GSFC), H. Ford (JHU), and G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick) and the ACS Science Team
01/14/09

 



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