When NASA astronomers pointed their Subaru telescope toward the constellation Lupus and saw spiral arms, they thought they may have a newly forming planets on their hands.
But when they looked closer thinking they would find millions of stars and maybe even forming planets, they found what was really an individual star. This is the first time a single star has been seen with arms before.
"Detailed computer simulations have shown us that the gravitational pull of a planet inside a circumstellar disk can perturb gas and dust, creating spiral arms,” said Carol Grady, an astronomer with Eureka Scientific, Inc., in a NASA news alert. “Now, for the first time, we're seeing these dynamical features."
The star, named SAO 206462, is in the constellation Lupus (400 light years from Earth) and is 14 billion miles across, which according to NASA is about twice the size of Pluto's orbit in our own solar system.
Watch the Science at NASA report:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/083fSbguKh8?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The star was found as part of Grady's five year international research project about young stars and planets.
This star with spiral arms joins a long list of different star tips including dwarf, giant, dead, exploding and binary just to name a few.