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Science. 2004 Mar 26;303(5666):1990-2. Epub 2004 Feb 26.

Discovery of a large dust disk around the nearby star AU Microscopii.

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  • 1Astronomy Department and Radio Astronomy Laboratory, 601 Campbell Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


We present the discovery of a circumstellar dust disk surrounding AU Microscopii (AU Mic, GJ 803, HD 197481). This young M star at 10 parsec has the same age and origin as beta Pictoris, another nearby star surrounded by a dust disk. The AU Mic disk is detected between 50 astronomical units (AU) and 210 AU radius, a region where dust lifetimes exceed the present stellar age. Thus, AU Mic is the nearest star where we directly observe the solid material required for planet formation. Because 85% of stars are M-type, the AU Mic disk provides new clues on how the majority of planetary systems might form and evolve.

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