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Marc Kuchner's Featured Image

What Is This Image?

Behold a planetary system around the star Beta Pictoris
Check out a 360-degree rotating tour of this disk.

Behold a planetary system around the star Beta Pictoris!

This planetary system is full of rocks and dust, which are sculpted into an interesting pattern by a giant planet that's about 9 times as massive as Jupiter. The image is a supercomputer model made by Marc's graduate student, Erika Nesvold. This cloud of rocks and dust is a beautiful example of what we call a "debris disk". Check out the video below to learn about how this image was made and what it means.

Erika Nesvold and Marc Kuchner discuss how their new supercomputer simulation helps astronomers understand Beta Pictoris.

Publication Date: August 20, 2015

 

A service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC

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