The position of β Pictoris b position relative to the debris disk

A. M. Lagrange, A. Boccaletti, J. Milli, G. Chauvin, M. Bonnefoy, D. Mouillet, J. C. Augereau, J. H. Girard, S. Lacour, D. Apai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Context. We detected in 2009 a giant, close-by planet orbiting β Pic, a young star surrounded by a disk that has been extensively studied for more than 20 years. We showed that if the planet were located on an inclined orbit, this could account for several peculiarities of the β Pictoris system. However, the available data did not permit us to measure the inclination of β Pic b with respect to the disk, and in particular to establish in which component of the disk-either the main, extended disk or the inner inclined component/disk-the planet was located. Comparison between the observed planet position and the disk orientation measured using previous imaging data was not an option because of potential biases in the measurements. Aims. Our aim is to measure precisely the planet location with respect to the dust disk using a single high-resolution image, and correcting for systematics or errors that degrade the precision of the disk and planet relative-position measurements. Methods. We gathered new NaCo data in the Ks band, with a set-up optimized to derive simultaneously the orientation(s) of the disk(s) and the planet projected position. Results. We show that the projected position of β Pic b is above the midplane of the main disk. With the current data and knowledge of the system, this implies that β Pic b cannot be located in the main disk. The data instead suggest that the planet is located in the inclined component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA40
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - 2012


  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Planet-disk interactions
  • Planetary systems
  • Planets and satellites: detection
  • Planets and satellites: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The position of β Pictoris b position relative to the debris disk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this