Best image yet of aging star's disc captured

Best Image Yet Of Aging Star's Disc Captured
Best Image Yet Of Aging Star's Disc Captured

A team of international scientists has achieved a milestone by recording the sharpest image yet of an old star's surrounding disc, as documented in their new study.

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The object is a dual system named IRAS 08544-4431 which is located approximately 4,000 light years away from Earth.

The Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESOâ€'s Paranal Observatory in Chile has obtained the sharpest view ever of the dusty disc around the close pair of aging stars IRAS 08544-4431. For the first time such discs can be compared to the discs around young stars — and they look surprisingly similar. It is even possible that a disc appearing at the end of a star’s life might also create a second generation of planets. The inset shows the VLTI reconstructed image, with the brighter central star removed. The background view shows the surroundings of this star in the constellation of Vela (The Sails).
The Very Large Telescope Interferometer at ESOâ€'s Paranal Observatory in Chile has obtained the sharpest view ever of the dusty disc around the close pair of aging stars IRAS 08544-4431. For the first time such discs can be compared to the discs around young stars — and they look surprisingly similar. It is even possible that a disc appearing at the end of a star’s life might also create a second generation of planets. The inset shows the VLTI reconstructed image, with the brighter central star removed. The background view shows the surroundings of this star in the constellation of Vela (The Sails).

The particle-filled disks which circle stars have interested astronomers because planets have been known to form within them; as such, the focus has largely been on newer entities.

However, the researchers found that this older ring "is indeed very similar to the model of discs around young stellar objects."

This discovery introduces the possibility that old stars could produce another set of planets before dying.

The image also stands out because of the extremely high level of resolution the team was able to achieve with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer in Chile and a combination of other techniques.

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