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Top Story

Icy ring around young planetary system suggests chemical kinship to comets in our solar system

An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut. This remarkably well-defined band of rubble and gas is likely the result of exocomets smashing together near the outer edges of a planetary system 25 light-years from Earth. The new ALMA observations offer a stunningly complete view of this glowing band of debris and also suggest that there are chemical similarities between its icy contents and comets in our own solar system.

Visit Website | Image credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. MacGregor; NASA/ESA Hubble, P. Kalas; B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)