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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A planet around beta Pictoris?

We have long suspected that the star Beta Pictoris had at least one planet, due to distortions in its dust disk. But now it appears to have been imaged directly. Tom has the image and a good description, as does Centauri Dreams, as well as a nice table of directly imaged exoplanet candidates and a diagram of their distances from their stars. We have 9 systems where we have directly imaged possible exoplanets (with 2 systems confiremed), that's pretty amazing.

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The planetary dust disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris is dynamically ringing like a bell, say astronomers investigating Hubble telescope images. The clapper is the gravitational wallop of a star that passed near Beta Pictoris some 100,000 years ago.
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