Alien_Comet_Swarms_Hint_at-ae39bc68aef3528e2dc14dc151524a5dAstronomers have detected bizarre swarms of comets around a nearby star, icy bodies that may have been trapped by the powerful gravitational pull of a huge, undiscovered exoplanet. An international team of scientists spotted an enormous belt of carbon monoxide (CO) gas in the disk of debris surrounding Beta Pictoris, a young star that lies 63 light-years from Earth. The source of the gas is probably comets, and lots of them; one large comet must be getting destroyed every five minutes to keep replenishing the CO, which is destroyed by starlight, researchers said. You can see a video description of the mystery planet around Beta Pictoris here. The swarms are likely corralled by a big, Jupiter-like alien planet orbiting far from Beta Pictoris, which is already known to host one gas giant (known as Beta Pictoris b) much closer in.  MORE