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Beta Pictoris b (artist’s impression)

This artist’s impression shows how the planet inside the disc of Beta Pictoris may look. Only 12 million years old, or less than three-thousandths of the age of the Sun, Beta Pictoris is 75% more massive than our parent star. It is located about 60 light-years away towards the constellation of Pictor (the Painter) and is one of the best-known examples of a star surrounded by a dusty debris disc. Earlier observations showed a warp of the disc, a secondary inclined disc and comets falling onto the star, all indirect, but tell-tale signs that strongly suggested the presence of a massive planet. Observations done with the NACO instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in 2003, 2008 and 2009, have proven the presence of a planet around Beta Pictoris. It is located at a distance between 8 and 15 times the Earth-Sun separation — or Astronomical Units — which is about the distance Saturn is from the Sun. The planet has a mass of about nine Jupiter masses and is right mass and location to explain the observed warp in the inner parts of the disc.

Credit:

ESO/L. Calçada

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About the Image

Id:eso1024b
Type:Artwork
Release date:10 June 2010, 20:00
Related releases:eso1024
Size:4960 x 3507 px

About the Object

Name:Beta Pictoris
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Circumstellar Material : Planetary System
• X - Illustrations
Distance:70 light years

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