Herschel telescope unveils icy debris ringing sunlike stars | Science News

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Herschel telescope unveils icy debris ringing sunlike stars

New images may reveal analogues of the solar system's frozen Kuiper belt

6:10pm, May 20, 2010

A flying observatory has taken the first ultrasharp images of rings of cold debris around sunlike stars. The doughnut-shaped rings appear to be extrasolar analogues of the Kuiper belt, the outer solar system’s reservoir of comets and other frozen bodies.

The newly observed rings are either left over from the planet-making process or were generated when planets collided. Astronomers used the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space Observatory, which sports the largest light

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