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Astronomers honored for Hubble paper, images
Astronomers honored for Hubble paper, images

JPL researchers John Krist (left) and Karl Stapelfeldt (right) are part of a team that has won a major award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

John Krist and Karl Stapelfeldt, both from the Origins of Stars and Planets Group in the Astrophysics and Space Sciences Section at JPL, are co-authors of a paper awarded the association’s 2009 Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the most outstanding paper published in Science magazine between June 1, 2008, and May 31, 2009.

The paper, “Optical Images of an Exosolar Planet 25 Light-Years from Earth,” reflected the team’s work with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys to image the dust belt around the star Fomalhaut, which is 25 light years from Earth. The optical images, obtained in 2004 and 2006, show a belt of dust and debris surrounding the star and a Jupiter-sized planet that orbits it every 872 years and sculpts the inner edge of the belt.

National Geographic magazine ran a full-page foldout of the image in its December 2009 issue, while Life magazine’s new glossy book “Wonders of the World” includes the image among its many classic photos.

The team was led by UC Berkeley astronomer Paul Kalas. The Newcomb Cleveland Prize was jointly awarded to a team led by Christian Marois of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victoria, Canada. That team simultaneously published images of three planets orbiting the star HR 8799. Both papers appeared online Nov. 13, 2008.

For more information on the award, visit

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