A new study has shown that in order to grow more than one giant planet in the same solar system, the planets must go through a complicated and intricate dance to prevent one from destroying the other.Continue reading “How Growing Giant Planets Fight for Food”
We have it relatively easy on the Earth. Our Sun is relatively calm. The space weather environment in the solar system is altogether placid. Things are nice. But new research has shown that we may be the exception rather than the rule, and that many exoplanets face much harsher conditions than we do.Continue reading “Most Exoplanets Suffer Worse Space Weather Than We Do”
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Star clusters tend to host more hot Jupiters than average, but why? A team of astronomers have proposed a new solution, and it involves a lot of swapping of stellar neighbors.Continue reading “Trading Spaces: How Swapping Stars Create Hot Jupiters”
A team of astronomers has caught glimpses of gas giants forming around a very young star.
The nascent giants are having a chilling effect on their potential siblings.Continue reading “Baby Gas Giants Cast Shadows on Their Siblings”
Recently astronomers have discovered Jupiter-sized planets orbiting at extremely large distances from giant stars. How can these stars end up with such big planets at such extreme orbits? A team of researchers has proposed that the answer is that the stars steal those planets from their neighbors.Continue reading “Massive Stars don’t Always Grow Their own Planets. Sometimes They Steal Them”
Protoplanetary disks—those nurseries around young stars where planets form—are filled with gas and dust. In particular, many show a lot of carbon monoxide gas. It’s a handy “tracer” to estimate the mass of a cloud, its composition, and even its temperature. It’s also easy to observe. However, astronomers think there should be more of it than they’re observing in many disks. And that prompted a question: where’s the rest of it?Continue reading “Carbon Monoxide is Plentiful in Nebulae, but Then Disappears When Planets Form. Now we Know Where it Goes!”
In this age of exoplanet discovery, we’ve discovered thousands of exoplanets of different types. The hot Jupiter is one of the most unusual types. There’s nothing like it in our Solar System.
Hot Jupiters are massive gas planets, and they attract a lot of attention because they’re so close to their stars and reach blistering temperatures. Their existence spawns a lot of questions about their formation and evolution. A new study is trying to answer some of those questions by determining hot Jupiters’ ages.Continue reading “How Do Hot Jupiters Get So Close to Their Stars?”
Jupiter is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The amounts of each closely conform to the theoretical quantities in the primordial solar nebula. But it also contains other heavier elements, which astronomers call metals. Even though metals are a small component of Jupiter, their presence and distribution tell astronomers a lot.
According to a new study, Jupiter’s metal content and distribution mean that the planet ate a lot of rocky planetesimals in its youth.Continue reading “Jupiter is up to 9% Rock and Metal, Which Means it Ate a lot of Planets in its Youth”
Is our Solar System comparable to other solar systems? What do other systems look like? We know from exoplanet studies that many other systems have hot Jupiters, massive gas giants that orbit extremely close to their stars. Is that normal, and our Solar System is the outlier?
One way of addressing these questions is to study the planet-forming disks around young stars to see how they evolve. But studying a large sample of these systems is the only way to get an answer. So that’s what a group of astronomers did when they surveyed 873 protoplanetary disks.Continue reading “We’ve Now Seen Planet-Forming Disks Around Hundreds of Young Stars. What Do They Tell Us?”
Hubble’s most remarkable feature might be its longevity. The Hubble has been operating for almost 32 years and has fed us a consistent diet of science—and eye candy—during that time. For 13 of its 32 years, it’s been checking in on a protoplanet forming in a young solar system about 530 light-years away.
Planet formation is always a messy process. But in this case, the planet’s formation is an “intense and violent process,” according to the authors of a new study.Continue reading “Hubble Has Been Watching This Planet Form for 13 Years”