Universe 

Interstellar "Wind" Sculpts Dusty Disks Around Stars

A new model of oddly shaped debris disks around stars incorporates the drag effect from interstellar gas on the disk's outermost small particles. Far from being empty, the space between stars is filled with patchy clouds of low-density gas. When a star encounters a relatively dense clump of this gas, the resulting flow produces a drag force on orbiting dust particles about one micrometer across, or about the size of particles in smoke. As the dust particles respond to the interstellar wind, a debris disk can morph into peculiar shapes determined by the details of its collision with the gas cloud. In a face-on encounter, such as that of the star HD 61005 in the constellation Puppis, shown here, the disk's edge bends gently away from the direction of motion. Fine dust trails behind, forming a cylindrical wake.


Credits

John Debes (ORAU): Lead Animator
Walt Feimer (HTSI): Animator
John Debes (ORAU): Scientist
Francis Reddy (SPSYS): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Short URL to share this page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10470

This item is part of this series:
Astrophysics Simulations

Keywords:
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Black Hole
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Star
NASA Science >> Universe