Latest Paul Kalas Stories

Fomalhaut b’s Odd Orbit May Be Caused By Star’s Vast Debris Disk
2013-01-09 11:45:36

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online According to newly released images from the Hubble Space Telescope, a vast debris belt circling around a nearby star is wider than scientists believe, and the unusual orbit of a planet traveling around that star could be to blame. In a statement released Tuesday, NASA officials stated that the images reveal that the debris disk traveling around the star Fomalhaut actually spans from 14 to 20 billion miles from the star...

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...

2008-11-13 15:40:00

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star. Estimated to be no more than three times Jupiter's mass, the planet, called Fomalhaut b, orbits the bright southern star Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Australis (the Southern Fish). Fomalhaut has been a candidate for planet hunting ever since an excess of dust was discovered around the star in the early 1980s by NASA's Infrared Astronomy Satellite...

2007-07-19 11:26:46

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and W. M. Keck Observatory have found a lopsided debris disk around a young star known as HD 15115. As seen from Earth, the edge-on disk resembles a needle sticking out from the star. Astronomers think the disk's odd imbalanced look is caused by dust following a highly elliptical orbit about the star. The lopsided disk may have been caused by the gravity of planets sweeping up debris in the disk or by the gravity of a nearby star. The observations...

2007-01-07 15:47:23

New observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have begun to fill gaps in the early stages of planet birth. Hubble observed a "blizzard" of particles in a disk around a young star revealing the process by which planets grow from tiny dust grains. The particles are as fluffy as snowflakes and are roughly ten times larger than typical interstellar dust grains. They were detected in a disk encircling the 12-million-year-old star AU Microscopii. The star is 32 light-years away in the...

2006-01-19 11:57:41

NASA -- These two bright debris disks of ice and dust appear to be the equivalent of our own solar system's Kuiper Belt, a ring of icy rocks outside the orbit of Neptune and the source of short-period comets. The disks encircle the types of stars around which there could be habitable zones and planets for life to develop. The disks seem to have a central area cleared of debris, perhaps by planets. The new disks, each about 60 light-years from Earth, bring to nine the number of dusty debris...

2005-06-21 22:40:00

Berkeley - Astronomers zooming in on a nearby star with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered unmistakable evidence of a planetary system: a perturbed dusty belt around the star that's analogous to the vast Kuiper Belt of icy rocks encircling the sun. While the discovery is expected to send astronomers scurrying to their telescopes to obtain direct images of a planet around the star, called Fomalhaut, it also provides a Rosetta stone for debris disks - the pancakes of rock and ice...

2005-06-22 12:15:00

NASA -- The Hubble Space Telescope's most detailed visible-light image ever taken of a narrow, dusty ring around the nearby star Fomalhaut (HD 216956), offers the strongest evidence yet that an unruly and unseen planet may be gravitationally tugging on the ring. Hubble unequivocally shows that the center of the ring is a whopping 1.4 billion miles (15 astronomical units) away from the star. This is a distance equal to nearly halfway across our solar system. The most plausible explanation,...

Word of the Day
  • A gigantic fictional humanoid alien god being described with a head resembling an octopus and dragon wings and claws, around whom an insane cult developed.
  • Pertaining to the mythos of Cthulhu and additional otherworldly beings created by H. P. Lovecraft or inspired by his writings and imitators.
This word was invented in 1926 by H.P. Lovecraft for his short story, 'The Call of Cthulhu.' 'Cthulhu' may be based on the word 'chthonic,' which in Greek mythology refers to the underworld.