Herschel provides an updated look at the debris disk in the popular planetary system, Tau Ceti.
Large plumes of water vapor were recently found on the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt. Using Ceres’ rotation, astronomers have located two possible sources for the water vapor on the surface.
A new debris disk is discovered by the Herschel Space Telescope around the red dwarf tertiary star in the famous Fomalhaut system.
Herschel observations reveal that debris disks are aligned with their stars’ equators, unlike some close-in transiting exoplanets.
The disk around 49 Ceti is known to show characteristics of both protoplanetary and debris disks. New observations with Herschel reveal that it is likely a debris disk with gas generated by evaporating comets.
Spectroscopy with Herschel can probe the dust in the heart of protoplanetary disks through the 69 micron feature of forsterite. Examining these features in detail reveals that the dust grains are small, iron poor, and confined to narrow rings.