Beta Pictoris

Stellar classification



  • X 54
  • Y -32
  • Z -11
→ Sol: 64

Object type

  • Star
  • Infra-Red source
  • sub-millimetric source
  • UV-emission source
simbad:* bet Pic


Beta Pictoris (β Pic, β Pictoris) is the second brightest star in the constellation Pictor. It is located 63.4 light years from the Solar System, and is 1.75 times as massive and 8.7 times as luminous as the Sun. The Beta Pictoris system is very young, only 20 to 26 million years old, although it is already in the main sequence stage of its evolution. Beta Pictoris is the title member of the Beta Pictoris moving group, an association of young stars which share the same motion through space and have the same age.

Beta Pictoris shows an excess of infrared emission compared to normal stars of its type, which is caused by large quantities of dust and gas (including carbon monoxide) near the star. Detailed observations reveal a large disk of dust and gas orbiting the star, which was the first debris disk to be imaged around another star. In addition to the presence of several planetesimal belts and cometary activity, there are indications that planets have formed within this disk and that the processes of planet formation may still be ongoing. Material from the Beta Pictoris debris disk is thought to be the dominant source of interstellar meteoroids in the Solar System.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has confirmed the presence of a planet, Beta Pictoris b, matching previous predictions, through the use of direct imagery, orbiting in the plane of the debris disk surrounding the star. This planet is currently the closest extrasolar planet to its star ever photographed: the observed separation is roughly the same as the distance between Saturn and the Sun.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Beta Pictoris", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.