Hot and Cold

Space based infrared observations find double planetesimal belts around Vega.


Su et al. (ApJ in press) got Spitzer and Herschel observations of Vega, and find emission consistent with an inner warm asteroid belt and an outer cool planetesimal belt, with a gap between.


This is similar to what we see in the Solar System but on a bigger scale around a younger, hotter, more massive star.

The inference is that the gap between the two belts is kept clear of tepid dust by multiple planets orbiting in the region.

Schematic of Vega system inferred from observations

This is a very cool result and an interesting additional piece of information on the structure of other planetary systems.

NASA Press Release


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So, if humans give birth to a supercivilisation able to manipulate matter on large scales, the Vega system would give them a nearby embryonic planetary system to play around with, before the planets are "set" :-)
It would be nice to have several Earth-like planets in the "goldilocks zone", with orbital resonances guraranteeing they never collide. And with the high luminosity of Vega, Earth-like planets will be well beyond the influence of solar tidal friction.
Let's not forget to send just enough water inwards from the "snow line", not so much that the worlds have no land mass (like Europa) but enough to lubricate the mantle guaranteeing working plate tectonics.
On top of that, Vega coincides with the celestial north pole once every 28000 years.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 09 Jan 2013 #permalink

Meanwhile Fomalhaut continues to amuse...

Memory says Jack Vance put 26 planets in orbit about Vega in his Demon Princes. Always nice to see when science fiction and science are compatable!

Who else pout planets around Vega? James Schmitz comes to mind, in AGENT OF VEGA and several other works, Alas, It's been a while since I read any Schmitz, and I've forgotten the planertary details.

By mike shupp (not verified) on 17 Jan 2013 #permalink