Molecular gas clumps from the destruction of icy bodies in the β pictoris debris disk

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1248726
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TypeArticle
Journal titleScience
ISSN0036-8075
Volume343
Issue6178
Pages14901492; # of pages: 3
Subjectcarbon monoxide; asteroid; carbon monoxide; collision; Mars; molecular analysis; resonance; wavelength; astronomy; attenuation; beta pictoris debris disk; cosmological phenomena; field emission; icy body destruction; moon; planet collision; steady state; velocity
AbstractMany 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 β 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, β 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.
Publication date
PublisherAAAS
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; National Science Infrastructure
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272621
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Record identifier1f68c87a-f466-4eb8-b729-1ba05a4e7490
Record created2014-12-03
Record modified2016-05-09
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