March 7, 2014

The disc of debris around the young star Beta Pictoris shows a potentially life-supporting system in the making, a hidden exoplanet and icy comets colliding at a rate of one every five minutes.

Beta Pictoris, visible to the naked eye in the southern sky, is offering astronomers a great look at the evolution of a young planetary system. The star is know to have one planet orbiting around 1.2 billion kilometres from it and was one of the first found to be surrounded by a large disc of dusty debris.

That disc is now the source of a multitude of new findings using observations captured by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope (ALMA).

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