They image 'debris disks' in a 'sister' star to the Sun

Astronomers manage to obtain images of a ring that surrounds the star HD 53143, known since 2006.

Thanks to the observatory, astronomers have obtained HD 53143 neighbor star debris disk images at millimeter wavelengths for the first time, and it doesn’t look like what they expected.

Based on the first data from coronagraphs, scientists expected that SOUL confirmed that the the debris disk was a face ring outside sprinkled with cumulus dust. Instead, the observations gave a surprising twistrevealing the debris disk more complicated and eccentric observed to date.

The comments were presented at the 240 meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and will be published in the next issue of “Letters from the Astrophysical Journal”.

a known star

HD 53143 -a star similar to the Sun, approximatelybillions of yearslocated 59.8 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina, was observed for the first time with the Advanced Hubble Space Telescope (HST) camera for surveys in 2006.

Also is surrounded by a disc of debris – a belt of comets orbiting a star and constantly colliding and crushing smaller dust and debris – which scientists previously believed to be it was a sun-facing ring similar to the disk of debris that surrounds itbetter known as the Kuiper Belt.

The new sightings of HD 53143 were carried out with the band 6 high sensitivity receivers of SOULan observatory in which National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) of the US National Science Foundationand revealed that the star system debris disk is actually very eccentric.

Eccentric and elliptical discs

In the ring-shaped debris discs, the star is usually located at or near the center of the disc. But in the eccentric discs ellipse-shaped, the star resides at a focus of the ellipse, away from the center of the disc. Such is the case of HD 53143What has not been seen in previous coronagraph studies because coronagraphs deliberately block light from a star so that you can see nearby objects more clearly. The star system could also host a second disk and at least one planet.

“Until now, scientists have never seen a debris disk with such a complicated structure. Besides being an ellipse with a star at one focus, you probably also have a second internal drive that is misaligned or tilted relative to the outer disk,” Meredith MacGregor, assistant professor at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy (CASA) and the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences (APS) at CU Boulder, and lead author of the study, said in a statement. –. To produce this structure, there must be a planet or planets in the system that gravitationally perturb the disk material“.


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This level of eccentricity, points MacGregordo that HD 53143 to be the most eccentric debris disk observed to date, being twice as eccentric as the disk of Fomalhaut Rubble StonesWhat MacGregor fully visualized in wavelengths millimeters with ALMA in 2017.

“Until now, we did not find many disks with significant eccentricity –keep on going–. In general, we don’t expect discs to be very wacky unless something, like a planet, sculpts them and forces them to be eccentric. Without this force, orbits tend to become circular, like what we see in our own solar system.”

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