Disk of dust and gas surrounding Beta Pictoris pictured by Hubble

February 23, 2015 9:18 PM

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Disk of dust and gas surrounding Beta Pictoris pictured by Hubble

The diameter of the cosmic disk -- composed of the types of gas, dust and cosmic materials that may coalesce into planets -- is roughly 20 times wider that the planetary orbits or our home solar system. But while researcher have previously noted the impressive size of the Beta Pictoris system, the innards of this cosmological swirl had not been well documented.

The new research, enabled by Hubble's infrared imaging instruments, reveals the insides of the stellar disk in never-before-seen detail. The new images reveal the unique inner structures of the dense inner disk and confirms the presence of a massive planet within the spiral of debris.

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