Astrophysical mirrors of our Kuiper Belt

HD 53143 and HD 139664 are two new debris disks around a K star and an F star discovered using Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys. Though their appearance depends on the orientation of each disk, the internal structure of each is surprisingly different. HD 53143 has an extended disk of dust, whereas HD 139663 is actually a narrow ring, much like our Kuiper Belt. We proposed that these two systems represent two categories of debris disks: wide disks and narrow belts. Our Kuiper Belt is a narrow belt like HD 139664. Why? We proposed that the early stellar environment can shave away the outer part of a disk, while a planetary system eat away the inside of a disk. The systems that escape this process end up as wide disks, but others are gravitationally sculpted into narrow belts. I created the illustration below to explain the idea.

Click here for the UC Berkeley Press Release, and click here for the NASA press release.