This view shows the planet and ring structure from 30 degrees above the planet's orbital plane.
A planet twice the mass of Earth shepherds dust near its orbit into a circumstellar ring structure. Both the planet and the dust structure orbit the host star with a period of 5.2 years. Two regions of enhanced dust density lead and trail the planet, which causes periodic localized brightening.
This simulation was computed using NASA GSFC's 420-processor Thunderhead cluster. Stark used the cluster to create a catalog of debris-disk structures caused by Earth-like planets.