Two bright-yellow, banana-shaped arcs of gas and dust face each other within a newly discovered disk surrounding a young star called HD 142527. The disk, with a radius about six times the average distance between Neptune and the sun, may already have spawned one planet and could make several more, say researchers in Japan.
A passing star or an outlying planet would have sculpted the banana-shaped arcs, Hideaki Fujiwara of the University of Tokyo and his colleagues suggest in the June 20 Astrophysical Journal Letters. Using the Subaru Telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the team also discerned a large gap between the outer and inner regions of the disk. The gap, not shown in this near-infrared image, was probably cleared by a planet that coalesced within the disk, the group says.