Molecular gas clumps from the destruction of icy bodies in the β Pictoris Debris Disk

W. R. F. Dent*, M. C. Wyatt, A. Roberge, J-C Augereau, S. Casassus, S. Corder, J. S. Greaves, I. de Gregorio-Monsalvo, A. Hales, A. P. Jackson, A. Meredith Hughes, A-M Lagrange, B. Matthews, D. Wilner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many stars are surrounded by disks of dusty debris formed in the collisions of asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets, but is gas also released in such events? Observations at submillimeter wavelengths of the archetypal debris disk around beta Pictoris show that 0.3% of a Moon mass of carbon monoxide orbits in its debris belt. The gas distribution is highly asymmetric, with 30% found in a single clump 85 astronomical units from the star, in a plane closely aligned with the orbit of the inner planet, beta Pictoris b. This gas clump delineates a region of enhanced collisions, either from a mean motion resonance with an unseen giant planet or from the remnants of a collision of Mars-mass planets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1492
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume343
Issue number6178
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2014

Keywords

  • CIRCUMSTELLAR DISK
  • PLANET FORMATION
  • GIANT PLANET
  • COLLISIONS
  • DUST
  • CO
  • STARS
  • VEGA
  • MYR

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