Planets and Moons  ID: 11896

The Planet Around Beta Pictoris Makes Waves

A new NASA supercomputer simulation of the planet and debris disk around the nearby star Beta Pictoris reveals that the planet's motion drives spiral waves throughout the disk, a phenomenon that greatly increases collisions among the orbiting debris. Patterns in the collisions and the resulting dust appear to account for many observed features that previous research has been unable to fully explain.

Astronomers Erika Nesvold (UMBC) and Marc Kuchner (NASA Goddard) essentially created a virtual Beta Pictoris in the computer and watched it evolve over millions of years. It is the first full 3-D model of a debris disk where scientists can watch the development of asymmetric features formed by planets, like warps and eccentric rings, and also track collisions among the particles at the same time.


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Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Lead Producer
Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Animator
Francis Reddy (Syneren Technologies): Lead Writer
Marc Kuchner (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Erika Nesvold (UMBC): Scientist
Erika Nesvold (UMBC): Interviewee
Marc Kuchner (NASA/GSFC): Interviewee
Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Editor
Rob Andreoli (AIMM): Lead Videographer
John Caldwell (AIMM): Videographer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, individual items should be credited as indicated above.

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This item is part of these series:
Narrated Movies
Astrophysics Simulations
Astrophysics Stills
Astrophysics Features

Goddard TV Tape:
G2015-052 -- Beta Pictoris Disk Simulation

SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> Space
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
SVS >> Exoplanet