Giant alien planet may lurk in star ‘ s skewed fabric structure

A large, intricate fabric structure 150 billion km wide around the young star HR 4796A, as seen in this view from the Hubble Space Telescope.

(G. Schneider (Univ. of Arizona/NASA/ESA)

The Hubble Space Telescope has recently discovered a star, surrounded by a huge dust structure that extends about 150 billion km wide.

Scientists suspect that a giant planet is also embedded in the debris, and thus the structure could shed insights into how the planets are formed, NASA officials said in a statement.

“The debris field of very fine dust is probably created by collisions between the development of baby planets around the star, showing off a bright ring of dusty debris seen seven billion miles [11 billion kilometers] of the star. The pressure of starlight from the star, which is 23 times more luminous than the sun, the removal of the dust far away in space,” NASA officials said in the statement. [Photos: The strangest Alien Planets We have Found so Far]

But there are weird subtleties in the dust ring of the structure. NASA describes it as like an inner tube that was struck by a truck. That is because the substance is much more extensive on one side of the star than it is on the other side. Perhaps, the scientists suggest, the star is plowing through the gas in the interstellar medium, creating a shock wave that impacts on the substance. Or the stars of red dwarf binary companion, HR 4796B, that is about 54 billion kilometres (87 billion km) away — is the exercise of a tidal influence.

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“The dust distribution is a clear sign of how dynamic interactive the inner system with the ring is,” explains lead researcher and astronomer Glenn Schneider of the University of Arizona, Tucson. He used Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph substance to be examined in more detail.

“We can not treat exoplanetary debris systems such as just in isolation,” he added. “The environmental effects, such as the interaction with the interstellar medium and the forces due to stellar companions, can be long-term consequences for the development of such systems. The gross asymmetry of the outer fabric field tell us that many of the forces in play beyond just host star radiation pressure that move the material around. We have seen effects like this in a few other systems, but here is a case where we have a lot of things at the same time.”

About 40 debris disks have been photographed around stars to date, usually by means of Hubble observations. The proof of the first debris disk around the star Beta Pictoris) was discovered in 1983, with the help of NASA’s Infrared Astronomical Satellite. In 2015, NASA officials said Beta Pictoris is the only known system that a gas giant planet embedded in the fabric.

The new work is detailed in The Astronomical Journal in February.

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