The European Southern Observatory released a photograph of the star Fomalhut. The image – which combines ALMA and Hubble photographs – shows a ring of dust surrounding the star, which lies about 25-light-years away. This discovery leads scientists to believe that planets orbiting the bright star are much smaller than originally anticipated.
Aaron Boley, a leader in the study, said this in a release:
Combining ALMA observations of the ring’s shape with computer models, we can place very tight limits on the mass and orbit of any planet near the ring …The masses of these planets must be small; otherwise the planets would destroy the ring.
Read more here.
Here’s Eta Carinae, a star system in the constellation of Carina that will likely explode into a supernova in the “near future.”
When it eventually blows to kingdom come, we’ll actually be able to see it. After all, the star system is only about 8,000 light years away. Sweet!
According to NASA,
When it does [explode], expect an impressive view from Earth, far brighter still than its last outburst: SN 2006gy, the brightest supernova ever observed, came from a star of the same type, though from a galaxy over 200 million light-years away.
You’re worried because this star system is much, much closer than SN 2006gy? Oh, don’t get all nervous on us! While NASA says it’ll explode in the “near future,” in astronomical terms, that could still be millions of years away.
Read more about this image of Eta Carinae, obtained by NASA’s Hubble Telescope, here.
This star, dubbed VFTS 102, spins 1 million miles an hour! That’s 100 times faster than our Sun rotates. Whoa. That’s pretty crazy, right? “Centrifugal forces from this dizzying spin rate have flattened the star into an oblate shape and spun off a disk of hot plasma, seen edge on in this view from a hypothetical planet,” according to NASA. The star is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which according to NASA is a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.