HR 4796A Stellar Dust Disk
Huge System of Dusty Material Enveloping the Young Star HR 4796A
This is a Hubble Space Telescope photo of a vast, complex dust structure, about 150 billion miles across, enveloping the young star HR 4796A. A bright, narrow inner ring of dust is already known to encircle the star and may have been corralled by the gravitational pull of an unseen giant planet. This newly discovered huge dust structure around the system may have implications for what this yet-unseen planetary system looks like around the 8-million-year-old star, which is in its formative years of planet construction. The debris field of very fine dust was likely created from collisions among developing infant planets near the star, evidenced by a bright ring of dusty debris seen 7 billion miles from the star. The pressure of starlight from the star, which is 23 times more luminous than the Sun, then expelled the dust far into space.