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Stellar Dust Ring around Star HR 4796A The Vault

Unlike the extensive disks of dust seen around other young stars, the ring around this young star is 6.5 billion miles from the star itself, which would be equivalent to the distance separating the orbits of Mars and Uranus in our own solar system. The dust rings intrigue astronomers because of what they signify. All dust rings, whether around stars or planets, only remain intact by some mechanism confining the dust. Otherwise, particle collisions would cause the ring to spread both inward and outward until it finally lost its identity. The mechanism holding together this ring is probably the formation of new planets, astronomers believe. Just visible to the naked eye, the star, HR 4796A, is located 220 light-years away in the southern constellation Centaurus.


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