April 12, 2012


Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
Socorro, NM
(575) 835-7302

GRAPHICS: ALMA Reveals Workings of Nearby Planetary System

Fomalhaut and its dust ring

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The narrow dust ring around Fomalhaut. Yellow at top is the ALMA image, and the blue at bottom is Hubble Space Telescope image. The star is at the location of the bright emission at the center of the ring.

CREDIT: A.C. Boley (University of Florida, Sagan Fellow), M.J. Payne, E.B. Ford, M. Shabran (University of Florida), S. Corder (North American ALMA Science Center, National Radio Astronomy Observatory), and W. Dent (ALMA, Chile), NRAO/AUI/NSF; NASA, ESA, P. Kalas, J. Graham, E. Chiang, E. Kite (University of California, Berkeley), M. Clampin (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), M. Fitzgerald (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and K. Stapelfeldt and J. Krist (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

How planets can "shepherd" a ring of dust around a star

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Particles in the dust ring are kept inside the ring by gravitational interaction with planets. The faster-moving inner planet transfers energy to dust particles, moving them outward, deeper into the ring. The slower-moving outer planet removes energy from the particles, causing them to drop inward, back into the ring.


For a video tour of ALMA,
Visit the ALMA Explorer.

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