It’s Complicated: Hubble Survey Finds Unexpected Diversity in Dusty Discs Around Nearby Stars
Images captured by the Hubble Telescope of the vast debris systems surrounding nearby stars.
Credit: NASA/ESA/ G. Schneider (University of Arizona), and the HST/GO 12228 Team
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have completed the largest and most sensitive visible-light imaging survey of the debris disks surrounding nearby stars. These dusty disks, likely created by collisions between leftover objects from planet formation, were imaged around stars as young as 10 million years old and as mature as more than 1 billion years old.
The research was conducted by astronomers from NASA’s Goddard Space Center with the help of the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory. The survey was led by Glenn Schneider, the results of which appeared in the Oct. 1st 2014 issue of The Astronomical Journal.
“We find that the systems are not simply flat with uniform surfaces,” Schneider said. “These are actually pretty complicated three-dimensional debris systems, often with embedded smaller structures. Some of the substructures could be signposts of unseen planets.”
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