However, much like is the case with "Planet Nine," there is no direct observed evidence for the presence of a debris disk
massive enough to satisfy this theory.
They suspected the planet has a mass several times that of Jupiter, due to its influence on the star's large debris disk
. Later mass estimates based on direct imaging ranged from 4 to 17 times Jupiter's mass.
Though long hypothesized, the first evidence for a debris disk
around any star was uncovered in 1983 with NASA's Infrared Astronomical Satellite.
9); see also (10) for the latest debris disk
Because the planet and debris disk
interact gravitationally, the system provides astronomers with an ideal laboratory to test theories on the formation of planetary systems.
Scientists started to consider the possibility that Earth's water came only from comets originating in the Kuiper belt, an icy debris disk
in the outer solar system that includes Pluto (SN: 10/19/13, p.
This system also is of particular interest because researchers still can detect the remnant "debris disk
" of material left over from planet and star formation.
According to Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University, and Ian Crawford, a professor of planetary science and astrobiology at the University of London, the moon could have supported life soon after its formation from a debris disk
about 4 billion years ago, and then again about half a billion years later, when lunar volcanic activity was at a peak.
That's a lot of time and attention on one nearby star and its debris disk
. But Marengo said it really is taking astronomers back in time.
As the chunks in a debris disk
collide and dissipate energy, the ever-finer remains will settle into a thin sheet like the rings of Saturn.
The second planetary environment, known as a debris disk
, tends to be older than 5 million years, possesses little or no gas, and contains belts of rocky or icy debris that resemble the asteroid and Kuiper belts found in our own solar system.
That's the conclusion of a simulation that challenges a tantalizing notion in planetary science: that elliptical voids in a star's dusty debris disk
betray a planet's presence.