The image below shows a young star in Orion. The black ring around the star represents the blockage of the background light of the Orion Nebula by dust which is in orbit about this star. The total mass of dust, while still uncertain, is at least several earth masses. This discovery, courtest of Dr. C. O'Dell at Rice University, is consistent with previous discoveries of dusty disks around nearby stars. However, this particular discovery is intriguing in the sense that several stars in the Orion region of current star formation exhibit these disks. Some of us look forward to the day, a few billion years from now, when a future generation of question marks arise in what we, on earth, call the constellation of Orion.
The discovery image is reproduced below:
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