Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insight into gaseous and dust discs around stars

Date:
October 30, 2010
Source:
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)
Summary:
Researchers offer new insight into the structure of the gaseous and dust disc around a so-called 'Herbig Be' star. Herbig Be stars are surrounded by a disk with gaseous and solid particles.

Research by two Master's students from the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Anton Pannekoek Astronomical Institute (IAP), offers new insight into the structure of the gaseous and dust disc around a so-called 'Herbig Be' star. Above: Artist's impression of the disc of matter surrounding the young stellar object MWC 147 as inferred from observations made with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope Interferometer.
Credit: Copyright ESO

Research by two Master's students from the University of Amsterdam's (UvA) Anton Pannekoek Astronomical Institute (IAP), offers new insight into the structure of the gaseous and dust disc around a so-called 'Herbig Be' star. The measurements taken by the students led to a recent article in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Students Rik van Lieshout and Tullio Bagnoli performed measurements at the observatory on La Palma (Canary Islands). They did this for the Observation Project, part of the UvA's Astronomy and Astrophysics Master's study programme, after first submitting an observation proposal. They studied the Herbig Be star MWC 147, a very young, newly formed star in the transitional stage between massive and less massive stars. The mass of this star is approximately six times the mass of the Sun. The question the students wanted to answer is whether stars much heavier than the Sun are able to form planets.

Herbig Be stars are surrounded by a disk with gaseous and solid particles. The measurements, which Van Lieshout and Bagnoli made with the Belgian Mercator telescope, offer new insight into the structure of the gaseous and dust disc near the star, at a spatial scale much smaller than the orbit of Mercury around the Sun. Planets could possibly be formed in the aforementioned disc. Observations on this scale are usually done with the world's largest telescopes. Thanks to a new instrument developed by staff from the K.U. Leuven, Van Lieshout and Bagnoli could make these measurements with a smaller telescope. Thus, they could describe the physical properties of the gaseous and dust disc, including the geometry and surface brightness. There is an inner and outer disk. The inner disc is flat and appears to pass close the star surface, while the outer disk is much thicker and has a conical shape (the shape of a horn). The inner disc consists entirely of gaseous, due to the high temperature as a result of proximity to MWC 147 (too hot for dust particles). The transition between these two parts of the disk is consistent with earlier findings.

The question is whether stars much heavier than the Sun are able to form planets. The formation of rocky planets through the accumulation of dust grains does not seem possible in the inner flat portion of the disk around MWC 147 because no dust grains can exist there. The dimensions of this flat portion of the disc roughly correspond to the distance between the Sun and Mars in our solar system. A better understanding of planet formation may lead to greater understanding of the formation of our solar system. This requires mapping out the structure of the gaseous and dust disc (the protoplanetary disc, where planets may come into being) from other stars.

The students were accompanied by Prof. Rens Waters (Professor of Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam and Scientific Director of SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research) and Gerrit van der Plas and Daan Meerburg (both PhD students at the UvA's IAP). In addition, researchers from K.U. Leuven's Institute of Astronomy (Belgium) also contributed to the piece in Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Bagnoli, R. van Lieshout, L. B. F. M. Waters, G. van der Plas, B. Acke, H. van Winckel, G. Raskin, P. D. Meerburg. 'An inner gaseous disk around the Herbig Be star MWC 147. The Astrophysical Journal, 2010; 724 (1): L5 DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/724/1/L5

Cite This Page:

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). "New insight into gaseous and dust discs around stars." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074043.htm>.
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). (2010, October 30). New insight into gaseous and dust discs around stars. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074043.htm
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). "New insight into gaseous and dust discs around stars." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101028074043.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 20, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft makes a scheduled Easter Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

AP (Apr. 20, 2014) Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The SpaceX company's cargo ship, Dragon, spent two days chasing the International Space Station following its launch from Cape Canaveral. (April 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

A Hoax? Cosmetics Company Wants To Brighten The Moon

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) FOREO, a Swedish cosmetics company, says it wants to brighten the moon to lower electricity costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) On it's second attempt this week, The Space X company launched Friday from Cape Canaveral to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins