Music: “Halos” by Lars Leonhard, courtesy of the artist and Ultimate Records.

An international team of astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust the bright star Beta Pictoris have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies. The researchers suggest the comet swarm may be frozen debris trapped and concentrated by the gravity of an as-yet-unseen planet.