Fomalhaut b

More reports from the IAU meeting at Torino, this time on surprises with the putative planet around Fomalhaut.

The IAU Symposium 276 comes to a close in Torino with a late surprise.

Ray Jay reports again, using the fanciest of modern technology, that something may be awry with the planet around Fomalhaut.

Fomalhaut b is the direct imagined planet with the dust ring: two epoch imaging showed a small dot which moved in a manner consistent with an orbit out at that radius.
The dot was a bit too bright, which led to speculation that it might be a ringed planet, like Saturn.

Well, Ray Jay reports on a talk by Kalas: there is new HST data, which apparently shows the plant still, but in a slightly wrong place – suggesting maybe an eccentric orbit which crosses the dust ring, which is problematic. Further, the speculation, now, on the excess brightness is that it is a co-orbiting dust cloud, which is starting to be a bit of a stretch

This needs more data – but, this one may have to be backed out a bit, not entirely satisfactory.
Or, surprises are good, keep us on our toes!

Interesting times.

Fomalhaut b discovery paper (2008)


  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    October 16, 2010


    On the other hand, suggesting a “plant still” is a bit of a stretch too. 😀

  2. #2 Kayhan
    October 16, 2010

    This is what happens when your initial evidence is that they were “direct imagined”. :-)

  3. #3 andy
    October 16, 2010

    Is the background object hypothesis viable?

    Or perhaps the orbit is significantly inclined with respect to the dust ring, would that work?

  4. #4 Steinn Sigurdsson
    October 16, 2010

    Have to be pretty freaky unlucky for it to be background and to move just so and no more.
    Fomalhaut is nearby, high proper motion.

    Inclined orbit is difficult to reconcile with the dust ring, I think.
    The spectrum of the dot is, as I recall, a reflection spectrum.
    I still think something like rings are the best bet, but I haven’t seen the latest data.
    Be an interesting paper.

    The subconscious is mighty powerful.
    I will not blog at midnight
    I will not blog st midnight
    I will not blog at midnight…

  5. #5 Grant K
    November 24, 2010

    Ready to have your credulity stretched?

  6. #6 andy
    November 25, 2010

    Whatever the final result that scenario would be a fun one for space art: a possibly binary planet surrounded by a vast swarm of collisional debris and massive impacts occurring with alarming regularity…

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