Beta Pictoris

Beta Pictoris

 fourth-magnitude star located 60 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Pictor, notable for an encircling disk of debris that might contain planets. The star is of a common type somewhat hotter and more luminous than the Sun. In 1983 it was discovered to be an unexpectedly strong source of infrared radiation of the character that would be produced by a disk of material surrounding the star. The disk was later imaged and found to have a width roughly 2,000 times the Earth-Sun distance (2,000 astronomical units). Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the disk to be warped and its inner regions to be relatively clear. A likely, but not exclusive, explanation for these characteristics is that one or more extrasolar planets exist there. The outer part of the disk shows rings, possibly caused by a passing star.

John Donald Fernie

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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