James Webb Space Telescope spots asteroid collision in neighboring star system

Concentric circles of orange and brown with a glowing yellow sphere it their center
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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has observed evidence pointing to asteroids colliding in a neighboring star system. Resultant dust kicked up by the collision has a mass equal to around 100,000 times that of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.


The asteroids were seen smashing together in Beta Pictoris, a star system located about 63.4 light-years from the solar system. This star system is known for its relative youth; it’s just around 20 to 25 million years old, which makes it a celestial infant compared to our 4.6 billion-year-old solar system. The fact that Beta Pictoris is still in the throes of early planet formation means the JWST’s observation of colliding asteroids within this star system could shine a light on the volatile processes that shaped neighborhoods like the solar system in their infancy.

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