HD 37974

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HD 37974
R 66 and R 126 disc illustration.png
Artist concept of the stars, sun and planets not drawn to scale
Observation data
Epoch J2000      Equinox J2000
Constellation Dorado
Right ascension 05h 36m 25.87s
Declination –69° 22′ 55.9″
Apparent magnitude (V) 10.91
Characteristics
Spectral type B0.5Ia+[1]
B−V color index 0.21
Variable type None
Astrometry
Radial velocity (Rv) 258 km/s
Proper motion (μ) RA: -1.8 mas/yr
Dec.: -15.1 mas/yr
Absolute magnitude (MV) −7.6
Details
Mass 70[1] M
Radius 79 R
Luminosity 1,400,000[1] L
Temperature 22,500[1] K
Other designations
R 126, GSC 09167-00518, AL 361, GV 408, MSX LMC 890, RMC 126, CPD-69° 420, EM* MWC 123, LHA 120-S 127, LI-LMC 1413.
Database references
SIMBAD data

HD 37974 (or R 126) is one of two stars that was identified by NASA's Spitzer space telescope in the Milky Way's nearest neighbor galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (the other being R 66 or HDE 268835). Both stars are circled by monstrous dust disks located in the area that is theorised to be the origin of planets.

Significance[edit]

Both HD 37974 and HDE 268835 are hypergiants. The dust cloud around them surprised astronomers because stars as big as these were thought to be inhospitable to planet formation as they have very strong winds making it difficult/impossible for the dust clouds to "condense" into planets.

Astronomers estimate that the stars' disks are also bloated, spreading all the way out to an orbit about 60 times more distant than Pluto's around the sun. The disks are probably loaded with about ten times as much mass as is contained in the Kuiper Belt. Kastner and his colleagues say these dusty structures might represent the first or last steps of the planet-forming process. If the latter, then the disks can be thought of as enlarged versions of our Kuiper Belt.

"We do not know if planets like those in our solar system are able to form in the highly energetic, dynamic environment of these massive stars, but if they could, their existence would be a short and exciting one" said Charles Beichman, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, both in Pasadena, California.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kastner, J. H.; Buchanan, C. L.; Sargent, B.; Forrest, W. J. (2006). "SpitzerSpectroscopy of Dusty Disks around B\e] Hypergiants in the Large Magellanic Cloud". The Astrophysical Journal 638: L29. Bibcode:2006ApJ...638L..29K. doi:10.1086/500804.  edit
  2. ^ NASA's Spitzer Uncovers Hints of Mega Solar Systems, Nasa.gov, accessed 11 Feb 2006