Latest Circumstellar discs Stories

2010-04-14 08:52:12

Using four of the world's largest telescopes, scientists have obtained the most detailed information yet from the regions around two young stars tens of light years away, finding compact discs of rocky and dusty material at distances comparable to that from the Earth to the Sun. Keele University astronomer Dr Rachel Smith will present the team's results on Wednesday April 14th at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2010) in Glasgow. The astronomers used data from the MIDI interferometer,...

2010-02-22 12:05:00

How Do Planets Form? For centuries, astronomers and philosophers wondered how our solar system and its planets came to be. As telescopes advanced and space probes were sent out to explore, we learned more and more about our solar system, which gave us clues to how it might have taken shape. But were our ideas right? We could only see the end result of planet formation, not the process itself. And we had no other examples to study. Even with the knowledge gained about our solar system, we were...

2010-02-19 13:26:49

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so University of California, Berkeley, astronomer Paul Kalas found out when he published a Hubble Space Telescope image of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting the star Fomalhaut. Since it appeared in the journal Science in November 2008, "the image of Fomalhaut, its visually striking belt of comet dust and its planet has become an iconic image of a planetary system," said Kalas, an adjunct associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. National Geographic...

2010-01-07 12:05:00

New simulation presented at astronomy meeting reveals planet migration prevents plunge into sun For the last 20 years, the best models of planet formation"”or how planets grow from dust in a gas disk"”have contradicted the very existence of Earth. These models assumed locally constant temperatures within a disk, and the planets plunge into the Sun. Now, new simulations from researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Cambridge show that variations...

2009-10-07 07:44:00

Tipping point in planet formation found by new simulations Some stars are lonely behemoths, with no surrounding planets or asteroids, while others sport a skirt of attendant planetary bodies. New research published this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters explains why the composition of the stars often indicates whether their light shines into deep space, or whether a small fraction shines onto orbiting planets. When a star forms, collapsing from a dense cloud into a luminous ball, it...

2009-09-25 06:10:00

Astronomers using the twin 10-meter telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have explored one of the most compact dust disks ever resolved around another star. If placed in our own solar system, the disk would span about four times Earth's distance from the sun, reaching nearly to Jupiter's orbit. The compact inner disk is accompanied by an outer disk that extends hundreds of times farther. The centerpiece of the study is the Keck Interferometer Nuller (KIN), a device that combines...

2009-08-12 14:15:00

This composite image, combining data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope shows the molecular cloud Cepheus B, located in our Galaxy about 2,400 light years from the Earth. A molecular cloud is a region containing cool interstellar gas and dust left over from the formation of the galaxy and mostly contains molecular hydrogen. The Spitzer data, in red, green and blue shows the molecular cloud (in the bottom part of the image) plus young stars in and around Cepheus...

2009-08-10 15:04:31

The U.S. space agency says the Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence of a high-speed collision between two planets orbiting a young star. Astronomers say that two rocky bodies, one as least as big as our moon and the other at least as big as Mercury, slammed into each other within the last few thousand years or so -- not long ago by cosmic standards, NASA said. The impact destroyed the smaller body, vaporizing huge amounts of rock and flinging massive plumes of hot lava into space. NASA...

2009-07-01 08:04:49

Two University of Hawai'i at Mānoa astronomers have found a binary star-disk system in which each star is surrounded by the kind of dust disk that is frequently the precursor of a planetary system. Doctoral student Rita Mann and Dr. Jonathan Williams used the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii to make the observations. A binary star system consists of two stars bound together by gravity that orbit a common center of gravity. Most stars form as binaries, and if...

2009-04-01 13:35:00

A powerful, newly refined image-processing technique may allow astronomers to discover extrasolar planets that are possibly lurking in over a decade's worth of Hubble Space Telescope archival data. David Lafreniere of the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has successfully demonstrated this new strategy for planet hunting by identifying an exoplanet that went undetected in Hubble images taken in 1998 with its Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). In addition to...

Latest Circumstellar discs Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:44

Cosmogony -- Cosmogony is the study of the origins of celestial objects. It is most commonly used to refer to the study of the origin of the solar system. Currently, the most widely accepted theory is that the solar system was formed roughly 5 billion years ago with the collapse of a nebula of gas and dust, likely caused by shock waves generated by a nearby supernova. The solar system would have formed as a member of a star cluster, now long-since dispersed throughout the Milky Way over...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Asteroid Belt -- The Asteroid belt is a region of the solar system falling roughly between the planets Mars and Jupiter where the greatest concentration of asteroid orbits can be found. It is believed that, during the first million years of the solar system history, planets formed by accretion of planetesimals. Ripetute collisions led to the familiar rocky planets and to the gas giant's cores. However, in this zone of the system the strong gravity of Jupiter inhibited the final stages...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Vega -- Vega (Alpha Lyrae) is the lead star in the constellation Lyra, reaching near directly overhead the mid-northern latitudes, during the summer. It's a "nearby star" at only 25 light years distant and together with Arcturus and Sirius, one of the brightest stars in the Sun's neighbourhood. Vega is a vertex of the Summer Triangle. Its spectral class is A0V (Sirius, an A1V, is slightly less powerful) and it's firmly in the main sequence, fusing hydrogen to helium in its core....

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Epsilon Eridani -- Epsilon Eridani is a main-sequence star in the constellation of Eridanus (the river). It is often used in science fiction because it is extremely sunlike, and in the fictional Star Trek universe it is the home sun of the planet Vulcan which is home to Mr. Spock. It is the third closest star visible without a telescope. It has 85% of the Sun's mass, almost that much of its diameter, and 28% of its luminosity. It is 10.5 light years from Earth. Its spectrum is...

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Word of the Day
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'