Agriculture
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Watching out for vultures
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Newts
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Saving Africa's Wild Dogs
Firefly Delight
A Tongue and a Half
Behavior
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
Pollution at the ends of the Earth
Birds
Kiwis
Chicken
Ospreys
Chemistry and Materials
Scientist Profile: Wally Gilbert
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
A Diamond Polish for Ancient Tools
Computers
The science of disappearing
The Shape of the Internet
Galaxies on the go
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Mammals in the Shadow of Dinosaurs
From Mammoth to Modern Elephant
Dino-bite!
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Detecting an Eerie Sea Glow
Challenging the Forces of Nature
Quick Quake Alerts
Environment
Out in the Cold
Saving Wetlands
Bald Eagles Forever
Finding the Past
A Long Trek to Asia
Unearthing Ancient Astronomy
Sahara Cemetery
Fish
Seahorses
Electric Eel
Tiger Sharks
Food and Nutrition
Healing Honey
Strong Bones for Life
Allergies: From Bee Stings to Peanuts
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Capitalization Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
Detecting True Art
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Human Body
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
Electricity's Spark of Life
Heart Revival
Invertebrates
Mollusks
Crabs
Horseshoe Crabs
Mammals
Orangutans
Doberman Pinschers
Quokkas
Parents
Children and Media
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
How children learn
Physics
Project Music
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Plants
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Flower family knows its roots
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Anacondas
Crocodiles
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
The two faces of Mars
Cousin Earth
Mercury's magnetic twisters
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Bionic Bacteria
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Problems with Prepositions
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Catching Some Rays
Add your Article

A Dusty Birthplace

Outer space is a messy place. Besides all the asteroids, comets, and planets floating around, disks of dust particles surround many young stars.

A recent analysis is revealing new information about one particularly famous dust disk. This disk hovers around a star called Beta Pictoris. The research points to a possible planet orbiting the star, plus a collection of asteroids and comets.

Scientists have known about the dusty disk around Beta Pictoris for 20 years. Many details, though, have long been missing.

The dust that often surrounds young stars comes from all the action that happens nearby, as planets, asteroids, and comets form and then slam into each other.

To learn what the dust around Beta Pictoris is made of, astronomers from Japan used an infrared camera on a telescope in Hawaii. The images showed three distinct bands of tiny dust particles.

To describe how far these bands are from the star, the scientists used a distance measurement called an astronomical unit (AU). One AU is equal to the distance between the sun and Earth.

Around Beta Pictoris, the closest band of dust is 6.4 AU from the star. The other two bands lie at distances of 16 and 30 AU.

Normally, it would take less than 100 years for the tiny dust particles to be blown away into space. The fact that the disk around Beta Pictoris is still present suggests that some process is constantly restocking the particles that make up the bands, the scientists say. One possibility is collisions between asteroids.

There might also be a planet at a distance of 12 AU from the star, the data suggest. That’s just slightly greater than Saturn’s distance from the sun. This planet’s gravity could be helping to keep the dust belts from flying away into space and dispersing.

Further studies may provide additional details about how objects in the universe form and change. Tidiness probably has nothing to do with it!—E. Sohn

A Dusty Birthplace
A Dusty Birthplace








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™