Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New observations of the giant planet orbiting beta Pictoris

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Summary:
New observations have been made of the giant planet around beta Pictoris. Discovered in 2009, this planet, called beta Pictoris b, has now been detected again with the NaCo instrument on the VLT. Astronomers find that the planet is moving around the star. They have also measured the mass and the effective temperature of beta Pic b.

Multi-epoch observations of the β Pictoris b exoplanet. The planet was imaged in 2003 (left image) in the L' band (3.8 μm) in the plane of the circumstellar disk surrounding the star (not seen here). It was detected again in October 2009 (middle) when it had moved to the other side of the star. The new observations made in March 2010 at 2.18 μm, which are now published in A&A, are shown in the right panel. The planet has moved yet again relative to its position measured in 2009.
Credit: Image courtesy of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Astronomy & Astrophysics publishes new high angular resolution observations of the giant planet orbiting the star β Pictoris. Located at 63.4 light-years from the Sun, β Pic is a very young star of about 12 million years old [1], which is 75% more massive than our Sun. β Pic is well known for harboring an extended and structured circumstellar disk. It was actually the first star to have its disk directly imaged more than 25 years ago. In 2009, a giant planet was seen orbiting within the disk. With an orbital distance of 8 to 15 astronomical units (AU), β Pictoris b is the closest exoplanet to its star that has ever been imaged. This planet offers a new opportunity to study the planetary formation processes, in particular the interactions between the planets and their native disks.

An international team of astronomers [2] observed the β Pic system, using the VLT/NaCo instrument at 2.18 μm, previous observations having been made near 4 μm. They detected the planet again and compared these new observations with the previous ones. Combining all the data together shows that the planet is moving around the star, as expected from the previous data. Analyzing these new observations, the team was then able to measure the mass of the planet, around 7 to 11 times the mass of Jupiter, and its effective temperature, between 1100 and 1700C [3].

These new data already tell us something about the formation of the planet, especially because the system is very young. The planet β Pic b is still warm, implying that it has retained most of the primordial heat acquired during its formation. If it has been formed in a similar way to the giant planets of our solar system [4], its mass and temperature cannot be explained by some evolutionary models that hypothesize a total release of the energy acquired during the accretion of disk materials.

Forthcoming observations of β Pictoris b with NaCo and also with the next generation VLT instrument SPHERE should soon provide more details about its atmosphere and orbital properties and about the way this companion influences the surrounding disk material.

[1] The β Pictoris system is much younger than our solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.

[2] The team of astronomers includes M. Bonnefoy, A.-M. Lagrange, G. Chauvin, D. Ehrenreich, D. Mouillet (IPAG, Grenoble, France), A. Boccaletti, D. Rouan, D. Gratadour (LESIA-Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France), D. Apai (Space Telescope Institute, Baltimore, USA), F. Allard (CRAL-ENS, Lyon, France), J.H.V Girard (ESO, Santiago, Chile), M. Kasper (ESO, Garching, Germany).

[3] The effective temperature of a planet is the surface temperature it would have if it radiated as a "black body," that is, if it absorbed all the radiation coming from its star and re-emitted all back into space. For example, Earth's effective temperature is about -18C, while its actual surface temperature is 14C on average.

[4] The giant planets of our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) were most likely formed inside the circumstellar disk surrounding the Sun from embryos of solid material (ice, silicates) that swallowed surrounding gases from the disk.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Astronomy & Astrophysics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Bonnefoy, A.-M. Lagrange, A. Boccaletti, G. Chauvin, D. Apai, F. Allard, D. Ehrenreich, J. H. V. Girard, D. Mouillet, D. Rouan, D. Gratadour, M. Kasper. High angular resolution detection of Beta Pictoris b at 2.18 microns. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2011; DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201016224

Cite This Page:

Astronomy & Astrophysics. "New observations of the giant planet orbiting beta Pictoris." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111417.htm>.
Astronomy & Astrophysics. (2011, March 3). New observations of the giant planet orbiting beta Pictoris. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111417.htm
Astronomy & Astrophysics. "New observations of the giant planet orbiting beta Pictoris." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303111417.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking at the 'Human to Mars Summit' in Washington, says that learning more about the Red Planet can help answer the 'fundamental question' of 'life beyond Earth'. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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