The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope that shows an exoplanet plowing the debris disk, which surrounds Beta Pictoris.

Beta Pictoris is a relatively young star and is about 20 million years old and is located in the constellation Pictor. NASA suggests that the star is the sole one that has a planet embedded in a directly-imaged debris disk.

In 1984, astronomers found that Beta Pictoris was the first star that was surrounded with a bright disk of debris and dust. Since then, the star has been observed intensely by Hubble as well as other telescopes on the land. Hubble has found about 20 other stars, which has similar disks around them.

Scientists have compared the images taken by Hubble in 1997 and 2012 to trace any morphological variations in the protoplanetary disk.

The planet in the star system is estimated to orbit between 18 to 20 years. The scientists suggest that the exoplanet should have moved considerably in the last 15 years of observation but Hubble has found very less changes in the dust distribution of the protoplanetary disk.

Scientists suggest that previous computer simulations estimated a very complicated structure of the star's inner disk because of the gravitational attraction by the planet.

"The new images reveal the inner disk and confirm the predicted structures. This finding validates models that will help us to deduce the presence of other exoplanets in other disks," says Daniel Apai of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

The researchers also suggest that the structure of the debris disk and the dust is very diverse, which may be because of the masses and locations of the planets in the star system.

The extreme dusty nature of the disk is believed to be the result of major and recent collision of asteroid and planet-sized bodies that are embedded in the system. However, such collisions remain unseen. The scientists also suggest that gas and dust observed on the southwestern side of the bright disk is probably the outcome of the collision between the celestial bodies, which could have been the size of Mars.

The astronomer suggest that the images taken in 1997 and then in 2012 were taken in visible light via Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph in its coronagraphic imaging mode. Astronomers explain that coronagraph normally blocks the brightness of star in the center to show the surrounding disk properly. 

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