Beta Pictoris


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Beta Pictoris

(pik-tor -is, -toh -ris) (β Pic) A 4th-magnitude star in the constellation Pictor, about 19 parsecs from Earth. Following the IRAS survey in 1983, which showed the star to have an infrared excess, optical detectors revealed a disk of dust and ices surrounding the star. Seen edge-on from the Earth, this disk may be a region in which planets could form. Analysis of the disk in the late 1990s and early 2000s revealed a warp or bulge in its outer regions that may have been caused when material was pulled from the disk by the gravitational effect of a passing star, a brown dwarf companion, or a planet several times the mass of Jupiter. Beta Pictoris is a young star a little larger than the Sun. Mv : 2.42; spectral type: A5 V