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Warped Disc around Beta Pictoris

Warped Disc around Beta Pictoris

Depicts: Beta Pictoris
Copyright: Chris Burrows, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) the European Space Agency (ESA), J. Krist (STScI), the WFPC2 IDT team,and NASA

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows for the first time the inner region of a 200-billion mile diameter dust disk around the star Beta Pictoris.

Top Image

This is a visible light image of the disk, which appears spindle-like because it is tilted nearly edge-on to our view.

The disk is made up of microscopic dust grains of ices and silicate particles, and shines by reflected light from the star.

Bottom Image

False-color is applied through image processing to accentuate details in the disk structure.

Hubble reveals that the pink-white inner edge of the disk is slightly tilted from the plane of the outer disk (red-yellow-green) as identified by a dotted line.

A simple explanation is that a large planet is pulling on the disk. It is not possible to see the planet directly because it is close to the star, and perhaps a billion-times fainter.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
20-Jun-2024 21:02 UT

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