Beta Pictoris Disk Hides Giant Elliptical Ring System
A NASA Hubble Space Telescope false-color, visible-light picture of one side of the edge-on dust disk around the star Beta Pictoris. Knots in the disk (marked A,B,C,D) are interpreted as rings of dust, seen edge-on.
A still frame from a computer simulation, which shows a circumstellar dust disk highly perturbed by the gravitational pull of a bypassing star. The gray solid area represents the initial shape and size of the undisturbed disk. In the simulation, the gravity of the passing star rearranges the orbit of each particle, setting up an elliptical ring system that may have survived for the last 100,000 years since the impact occurred.
Image Credit (Left) : NASA and Paul Kalas (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Simulation courtesy (Right): John Larwood (Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, United Kingdom)