James Webb Telescope Captures Asteroid Belt Around Fomalhaut

"James Webb Telescope captures asteroid belt outside our Solar System for the first time around young star Fomalhaut"

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According to the American space agency NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope, which is the successor to Hubble, has recently captured images of an asteroid belt outside our solar system. The telescope took pictures of warm dust surrounding a young star called Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away from Earth in the Piscis Austrinus constellation. NASA reported that there are three concentric belts of debris extending up to 23 billion kilometers from the star, which is about 150 times the distance between Earth and the Sun.

Astronomers first discovered a single debris belt around Fomalhaut in 1983, but Webb's observations revealed two additional rings closer to the star - a bright inner ring and a narrow intermediate ring. NASA referred to the dusty belts as 'debris disks' and explained that they are the result of collisions between larger bodies, similar to asteroids and comets.

Andras Gaspar, the lead author of a new paper describing the recent images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, described Fomalhaut as the prototype of debris disks that are found in other parts of our galaxy. Gaspar, who works at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said that Fomalhaut has components that are similar to those in our own planetary system.

He added that by examining the patterns in the debris rings, astronomers can gain insights into what a planetary system should look like, even if the suspected planets cannot be seen in detail.

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While Hubble had previously captured clear images of the outermost debris belt, it was unable to detect any structures inside it. However, the James Webb Space Telescope was able to resolve the inner belts in infrared light, providing the first-ever clear view of these components.

As per a report by news agency Reuters, Fomalhaut is around 16 times more luminous than the Sun and almost twice as heavy. It is estimated to be approximately 440 million years old, which is less than a tenth of the Sun's age. However, the star is believed to be almost halfway through its lifespan.

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