Emerging star?

Published: Tuesday 31 March 1998

After giving a detailed survey of our Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), has now provided astronomers with proofs of a newborn planet in the dust cloud surrounding a nearby star. The disk, encircling Beta Pictoris (a star 60 light years away from us), is warped, suggesting planet birth. The disk was first spotted in 1984 but was studied in detail only last year. The bulges in the disk are asymmetric and astronomers are already excited as they say that these could be caused by a planet with a mass varying from 10 times the Earth's mass to about 20 times that of Jupiter (Science , Vol 279, No 16).

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