Our own solar system is very rare in the Universe, and not judging only by the fact that it’s the only one we know that harbors complex life forms. Saturn’s rings, the storms on Jupiter, our Earth having all the chemical elements from the periodic table, or the huge number of moons are only a few things to consider when talking about the amazing complexity from our solar system.
But the Kuiper belt is the star of the show today, the circumstellar disc present at the edges of the Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune to 50 AU from the Sun. The Kuiper belt is composed of remnants of the Sun’s accretion disc. However, scientists just found a similar thing in another solar system.
HD 141569A is the object
HD 141569A is the cosmic object where astronomers have found a belt of asteroids very similar to the Kuiper belt, only about 320 light-years away from Earth. They say it’s the first polarimetric detection of the inner ring that circles the star.
The disc around HD 141569A is classified as a hybrid, because it’s positioned between a protoplanetary disc and a debris disc. Scientists, in general, find hybrid discs to be fascinating because they can provide us information about how gas giants begin to form, and how growing planetesimals interact with the debris from the disc.
The scientists involved wrote on their paper:
Considering resolved imaging data from other high-contrast facilities, the HD 1415169A debris disc shapes up to be made of at least three, and potentially four nested rings, with spiral structures on the three spatially resolved rings,
As such, it is an excellent laboratory for studying dynamically perturbed discs.
This is not the first time when scientists have studied HD 141569A. This cosmic object is actually a trinary system composed of two red dwarf stars that are very young – only 5 million years old.
The research has been published in The Astronomical Journal.