Published On: Tue, Aug 11th, 2015

The Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy of a Young Extrasolar Kuiper Belt

An infrared picture of a bright, scarcely edge-on dry waste ring around a star HD115600. The ring resembles a Kuiper belt in a possess solar system, a segment that contains Pluto as good as thousands of ruins of a beginning stages of icy world formation. The Sun-Pluto stretch is projected onto a picture for reference. The core of a hoop (diamond) appears somewhat equivalent from a plcae of a star (plus).

Using a new spectrometer on a Gemini telescope to investigate a star somewhat incomparable than a Sun, astronomers found that a waste ring is cramped to a Kuiper belt–like stretch from a star and that a dirt has properties unchanging with that of a vital voters of Kuiper belt bodies — including H2O ice.

The Kuiper belt is a segment of a solar complement situated only over Neptune’s orbit, about 40 AU from a Sun (one AU – astronomical section – is a Earth’s normal stretch from a Sun). The Kuiper belt is a plcae of countless dwarf planets, such as Pluto, and is also home to thousands of ruins of a beginning stages of icy world arrangement that yield keys to bargain a early, unevolved solar system. Beyond a Kuiper belt lies a Oort cloud, a round cloud of comets and icy planetesimals that extends out to maybe one hundred thousand AU. Presumably other stellar systems also enclose analogs to a Kuiper belt, and they could assistance strew light on a Kuiper belt’s expansion and composition. Until now, however, a few such rings that have been imaged are dangerous analogs; they are seen around circuitously stars whose birth environments are distinct a vast stellar formidable where a Sun was substantially formed.

The conditions has recently altered with a appearance of a new era of astronomical imaging instruments on vast telescopes that use adaptive optics to obtain high spatial fortitude images. CfA astronomer Scott Kenyon and his colleagues used a new spectrometer on a Gemini telescope to investigate a star somewhat incomparable than a Sun located about 360 light-years divided in a comparatively immature formidable of vast stars, a segment roughly equivalent to a Sun’s suspected birth environment. The star has a vast additional of infrared emission, a transparent denote that it hosts a circumstellar dirt hoop that plausibly is combining a complement of planets.

The astronomers imaged a disk, and found that a waste ring is cramped to a Kuiper belt–like stretch from a star. Moreover, they detected from a spectrum of a reflected light that a dirt has properties unchanging with that of a vital voters of Kuiper belt bodies — including H2O ice. The outcome provides a earnest anxiety indicate for bargain a expansion and combination of a Kuiper belt, and for a early expansion of a whole solar system.

Publication: Thayne Currie, et al., “Direct Imaging and Spectroscopy of a Young Extrasolar Kuiper Belt in a Nearest OB Association,” 2015, ApJ, 807, L7; doi:10.1088/2041-8205/807/1/L7

Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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