Release Images

Release No.: 2015-22
For Release: Monday, November 2, 2015 - 11:20am

Disk Gaps Don't Always Signal Planets

dusty disk

This artist's concept illustrates a solar system that is a much younger version of our own. Dusty disks, like the one shown here circling the star, are the breeding grounds of planets. When visible or near-infrared observations show a gap in a disk like this, it is often interpreted as evidence for an unseen planet. However, new research shows that a gap could be a sort of cosmic illusion and not the sign of a hidden planet after all.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)