Beta Pictoris planetary disc, artwork

Beta Pictoris planetary disc, artwork

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Caption: Beta Pictoris planetary disc, artwork. Two planets are shown as insets, with an Earth-like planet above a Venus-like one. In the main picture, a protoplanetary disc has formed around the star Beta Pictoris (upper centre). Several planets have already formed, such as the gas giant at lower left. Ring-shaped empty areas are seen in the disc, formed by the passage of protoplanets in their orbits as they gather up surrounding material. At centre right, large asteroids are colliding with a rocky planet. Two comets are seen near the central Beta Pictoris star. The Beta Pictoris system is around 63 light years from Earth, in the constellation Pictor.

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