Using the James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers have made a groundbreaking discovery by observing the first asteroid belt ever detected outside our solar system, leading to fascinating revelations.
The focus of this space observatory was on the warm dust encompassing Fomalhaut, a youthful and luminous star positioned 25 light-years away in the Piscis Austrinus constellation, CNN reported.
While the presence of a dusty disk around Fomalhaut was initially detected in 1983 using NASA’s Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the researchers operating the Webb telescope were taken aback by the sight of three concentric rings of dust extending a staggering 14 billion miles (23 billion kilometers) from the star.
To put it in perspective, this distance is roughly 150 times the span between the Earth and the sun.
Moreover, the Webb telescope’s advanced capabilities unveiled Fomalhaut’s two inner belts for the first time, which had remained concealed in previous images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.
The high-resolution image of the dust belts, observed in the invisible infrared spectrum, displayed an intricate structure surpassing the complexity of our own solar system’s main asteroid belt and Kuiper Belt.
Written by staff