Mar 14

Crashing Comets Explain Surprise Gas Clump Around Young Star

Source: ESO Science Release eso1408

Artist's impression of Beta Pictoris.
Image credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/F. Reddy

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in northern Chile have today announced the discovery of an unexpected clump of carbon monoxide gas in the dusty disc around the star Beta Pictoris. This is a surprise, as such gas is expected to be rapidly destroyed by starlight. Something — probably frequent collisions between small, icy objects such as comets — must be causing the gas to be continuously replenished. The new results are published today in the journal Science.(read more)

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