Vanishing Dust Belt Around Star Baffles Scientists
A dusty disk around a distant star has faded surprisingly fast, leaving scientists few clues to how it disappeared.
Only a few years ago, the space around the star TYC 8241 2652 1 was filled with dust and gas, but recent observations show the region — an ideal spot for alien planets to form — has all but vanished.
“It’s like the classic magician’s trick: Now you see it, now you don’t,” principal investigator Carl Melis of the University of California, San Diego said in a statement. “Only in this case, we’re talking about enough dust to fill an inner solar system, and it really is gone!”
In the Image:
1. Artist’s concept of the dusty TYC 8241 2652 star system as it might have appeared several years ago, when it was emitting large amounts of excess infrared radiation.
2. Artist’s concept of the TYC 8241 2652 system as it might appear now, after most of the surrounding dust has disappeared.