Spiral Disk Structure May Reveal Planets
An international team of astronomers has used HiCIAO (High Contrast Instrument for the Subaru Next Generation Optics) to observe a disk around the young star SAO 206462. They succeeded in capturing clear, detailed images of its disk, which they discovered has a spiral structure with two clearly discernable arms. On the basis of their observations and modeling according to spiral density wave theory, the team suspects that dynamic processes, possibly resulting from planets in the disk, may be responsible for its spiral shape. This research may provide the basis for another indirect method of detecting planets.