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Infrared image of dust around star beta Pictoris

Infrared image of dust around star beta Pictoris

R650/0023

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Credit

D. ERMAKOFF / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY D. ERMAKOFF / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Beta Pictoris: candidate solar system. Coloured infrared image showing a disc of dust around the star Beta Pictoris. The central region of the image has been blanked off to prevent over- exposure by the star itself. Beta Pictoris is about 50 light years from Earth. The material surrounding it is a mixture of gas and silicate dust, potential building blocks of planets. Research published in 1995 described variations in the brightness of Beta Pictoris; explanations for this include the possible existence of at least one large planet around the star, or the formation of planetesimals (small rocky precursors to planets).

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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