Observation • December 18th, 2003 • ssc2003-06i4
This radio image of Fomalhaut, from the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, shows this bright star at a wavelength of 450 microns. Located in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, Fomalhaut is the 18th brightest star in the sky. The parent star and its putative planetary system are found at a distance of 25 light-years.
Sub-millimeter radio telescope measurements suggest that Fomalhaut is surrounded by a huge dust ring 370 astronomical units (an astronomical unit is the average distance between the Sun and Earth), or 34 billion miles (56 billion kilometers) in diameter. This corresponds to a size of nearly five times larger than our own solar system. Moreover, the sub-millimeter observations reveal that the ring is inclined 20 degrees from an edge-on view.
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