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Webb Telescope records asteroid impact on neighboring star system

One collision of large asteroids was recorded by astronomers using the James Webb telescope . The phenomenon that occurred in the neighboring star system, Beta Pictoris, can help researchers understand the primordial stages of planetary formation.

Located about 63 light-years from Earth, this set is the focus of several studies due to its proximity, its intense collision activities and because it is at an age — 20 million years — in which giant planets were formed but other terrestrial planets can also be emerging. The Solar System, by comparison, is 4.5 billion years old.

To classify what they were observing, scientists analyzed changes in the dust grains that were around Beta Pictoris.

When comparing images obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope between 2004 and 2005 and records made by the James Webb Telescope, differences were found in the composition and size of the particles. To the discoveries were presented at the 244th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Madison, United States.

The amount of dust that was recorded 20 years ago is about 100,000 times the size of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, according to the press release.

When making a new observation, astronomers were no longer able to identify these particles, reaching the conclusion that a collision occurred between asteroids and other objects, pulverizing the bodies into fine dust, smaller than pollen or sugar, according to the study.

“With the new data from Webb, the best explanation we have is that we did, in fact, witness the aftermath of a cataclysmic event [acontecimento de grande magnitude que causa mudanças significativas] rare among asteroid-sized bodies, marking a complete shift in our understanding of this stellar system,” commented Christine Chen, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, who led the research.

In addition to identifying the collision, astronomers once again indicated the James Webb telescope’s ability to record data about exoplanets and star systems. These images provide a wealth of information about the origin of the Universe and the formation of planets.

See photos of the James Webb Telescope

Source: CNN Brasil

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