National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Spiral Structure of Disk May Reveal Planets

| Science

An international team of astronomers has used HiCIAO mounted on the Subaru Telescope to capture detailed images of the disk around the young star SAO 206462. On the basis of their observations and modeling according to spiral density wave theory, the team suspects that dynamic processes, possibly resulting from planets in the disk, may be responsible for its spiral structure.

Figure 1
[Figure 1] An image of the disk around SAO 206462 captured with HiCIAO. A coronagraph blocks the direct light of the central star, which appears as the black, circular area in the image. Arrows show the two arms of the spiral structure around the star. (Credit: NAOJ)