Something shocking must have happened to the Beta Pictoris star system by the 20th century.
It doesn't seem so recent, but the universe is thought to be 13.8 billion years old, a major cosmic event that happened within the lifetime of some living human — and can be studied — that fascinates astronomers.
Beta Painter A nearby star with at least two orbiting planets, about 63 light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Pictor. It is visible to the naked eye in the southern sky. A team of scientists made the discovery using the powerful James Webb Space Telescope in collaboration with NASA and the European and Canadian space agencies. The Infrared Space Observatory has once again demonstrated its ability to detect details previously undetected by other telescopes.
Webb revealed a new dusty feature curled up like a cat's tail in Beta Pictoris. Now, the team is trying to figure out what's causing it.
„Despite previous observations from the ground in this (light) wavelength range, they lacked the sensitivity and spatial resolution that we now have with the web, so they did not detect this feature,” said Isabelle Repolito. Astronomical Center in Spain, In a statement.
The Webb Telescope examined the pulverized corpse of a star
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Rebollido is the principal author A new study These findings will be published in Journal of Astronomy.
previous Telescope observations of Beta Pictoris have revealed The system consists of two disks of debris caused by collisions between asteroids, comets, and other small planet-like bodies. Planets are thought to form in such a disk.
Mashable Speed of Light
Through computer modeling, Webb researchers hypothesize that a cosmic event within the last 100 years must have created the dusty curl.
The James Webb Space Telescope took a new snapshot of the Beta Pictoris system.
Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI / Christopher Stark / Kellen Lawson / Jens Kammerer / Marshall Perrin
„Something happens — like a collision — and a lot of dust is generated,” study co-author Marshall Perrin said in a statement. „At first, the dust goes in the same orbital direction as its source, but then it starts to spread out.”
Perin added that the light from the star pushes the smallest, fluffy dust particles away from the star so fast that the larger grains don't move as much, creating a long trail of dust. It extends from the southwestern part of the secondary debris disk.
Webb also revealed temperature differences between the two discs, which may indicate they are made of different materials. In visible light, the material forming the secondary disk and dust tail is dark. But with Webb's infrared vision, it glows.
Given the brightness of the tail, the team estimated that the amount of dust in it would be comparable to that of a large main belt asteroid spread over 10-fold. billion Miles.
A recent collision within the system's junk disks may also explain the previously detected feature Atacama large millimeter order In 2014, the telescope spotted a lump of carbon monoxide near the cat's tail. Since a star's radiation should destroy carbon monoxide within a century, this still-existing concentration of gas may be evidence of the same event.
If so, the beta pictoris system may be messier than researchers thought.
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