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Fraser
2004-Aug-13, 05:33 PM
SUMMARY: An astronomer from the University of Hawaii has captured a detailed image of a dust disk around a new star; structures in the disk show evidence of planets. The photo is of a star called AU Microscopii, which is 33 light-years away, and the closest known star with a visible disk of dust. Dr. Michael Liu used the infrared capabilities of the giant twin 10 metre (33 feet) telescopes of the Keck Observatory, and saw clumps in the stellar disk; it should be smooth and featureless if there weren't any planets.

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om@umr.edu
2004-Aug-13, 05:38 PM
This is great news, Fraser.

Hopefully the finding of planets embedded in a dusty disk of material around a relatively young star will help elucidate the mechanism that produced the planetary system surrounding the Sun.

A lot of information may be obtained from a planetary system only 33 light-years away.

With kind regards,

Oliver
http://www.umr.edu/~om

VanderL
2004-Aug-13, 09:32 PM
Maybe the Spitzer infrared telesope would be able to look into the dusty disk and maybe add some extra information on the gas surrounding this star system? Is this possible, or would the brightness of the object spoil the fun?

Cheers.