December 15, 2016

Planetary Disc around the young star RX J1615

Planetary Disc around the young star RX J1615

Using the ESO’s SPHERE instrument at the Very Large Telescope, a team of astronomer observed the planetary disc surrounding the star RX J1615 which lies in the constellation of Scorpius, 600 light-years from Earth. The observations show a complex system of concentric rings surrounding the young star, forming a shape resembling a titanic version of the rings that encircle Saturn. Such an intricate sculpting of rings in a protoplanetary disc has only been imaged a handful of times before.

The central part of the image appears dark because SPHERE blocks out the light from the brilliant central star to reveal the much fainter structures surrounding it.

Image Credit: ESO, J. de Boer et al.
Explanation from:

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