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Gaps in dust around stars may not indicate planets as many believe
by Staff Writers
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Jul 10, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Gaps in dusty disks around young stars, thought by many astronomers to be indicative of planet formation, can occur without planets, U.S. scientists say.

Wladimir Lyra at the California Institute of Technology and Marc Kuchner of NASA say interactions between dust and gas can produce some of the key patterns previously attributed to planets.

Writing in the journal Nature, they said the presence of gas around a star changes the dynamics within the surrounding disk of dust in a way that can produce observed gaps without the presence of planets.

They reported computer simulations suggest the interactions between dust particles and gas can organize the dust into narrow, eccentric rings, similar to the debris disk around a nearby star called Fomalhaut.

The study results may explain why reports of a possible pair of planets within the Fomalhaut debris disk, assumed to be creating patterns within the disc due to their gravitational effects, have been difficult to confirm, they said.


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Hubble Telescope reveals variation between hot extrasolar planet atmospheres
Exeter, UK (SPX) Jul 08, 2013
First results from the analysis of eight 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets suggest that winds and clouds play an important role in the atmospheric make up of these exotic planets. Catherine Huitson of the University of Exeter will present the results at the National Astronomy Meeting in St Andrews on Friday 5 July. Hot Jupiters are giant exoplanets, similar in size to Jupiter, that orbit so close t ... read more

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