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Stars and Constellations - Ring Around a Star Ring Around a Star

NASA Hubble Space Telescope's most detailed visible-light image ever taken of a narrow, dusty ring around the nearby star Fomalhaut offers the strongest evidence yet that an unruly and unseen planet may be gravitationally tugging on the ring.

Hubble unequivocally shows that the center of the ring is a whopping 1.4 billion miles away from the star. The most plausible explanation is that an unseen planet moving in an elliptical orbit is reshaping the ring with its gravitational pull.

The observations offer insights into our solar system's formative years, when the planets played a game of demolition derby with the debris left over from the formation of our planets, gravitationally scattering many objects across space. Some icy material may have collided with the inner solar system planets, irrigating them with water formed in the colder outer solar system.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, P. Kalas and J. Graham (University of California, Berkeley) and M. Clampin (NASA/GSFC)