Saturday, March 8, 2014

Carbon Monoxide Gas Around Beta Pictoris

This artist's concept illustrates the preferred model for explaining ALMA observations of Beta Pictoris. The new observations from ALMA now show that the disc around the star is permeated by carbon monoxide gas. The presence of carbon monoxide could indicate that the Beta Pictoris planetary system may eventually become a good habitat for life. At the outer fringes of the system, the gravitational influence of a hypothetical giant planet (bottom left) captures comets into a dense, massive swarm (right) where frequent collisions occur.

Illustration credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/F. Reddy

Note: For more information, see Crashing Comets Explain Surprise Gas Clump Around Young Star.

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