Astronomers have used the James Webb Space Telescope to study an asteroid belt far from our solar system surrounding a bright star called Fomalhaut, located 25 light-years away. It was discovered in 1983 and was found to consist of three rings of dust that extend very far from the star, much farther than the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Recently, astronomers found that Fomalhaut has two more rings closer to the star, and these inner rings couldn’t be seen before with other telescopes. The Webb telescope took a special picture that showed more details compared to the asteroid belt and Kuiper Belt.

These inner rings suggest that there are hidden planets influencing the shape of the dust belts around Fomalhaut, just like Jupiter and Neptune do in our solar system. Fomalhaut’s outer ring is twice as big as our solar system’s Kuiper Belt. These huge dust belts around Fomalhaut likely formed from the remains of asteroids and comets crashing into each other. By studying the patterns in these rings, scientists can learn more about how planetary systems are structured. When they combine data from the Webb telescope with information from other telescopes, they can get a better understanding of how debris belts form. They also observed another feature that was first seen by the Hubble telescope in 2008 but disappeared by 2014, suggesting that another collision happened and only dust was left behind.