Planetary Formation

Newly forming star has spiral arms like a tiny galaxy

Protoplanetary disks - where young stars are forming their families of planets - usually form concentric rings of gaps. But…

4 days ago

A Strange Planet has been Found that’s Smaller than Neptune But 50% More Massive

Astronomers have found another strange exoplanet in a distant solar system. This one's an oddball because its size is intermediate…

6 days ago

A Group of Meteorites All Came From a Destroyed Planetesimal With a Magnetic Core

Before our Solar System had planets, it had planetesimals. Scientists think that most of the meteorites that have struck Earth…

2 weeks ago

More Details On NASA’s VERITAS Mission, Which Could Go to Venus

Venus has always been a bit of the odd stepchild in the solar system.  It’s similarities to Earth are uncanny:…

4 weeks ago

Pluto and Other Kuiper Belt Objects Started Out With Water Oceans, and Have Been Slowly Freezing Solid for Billions of Years

It seems unlikely that an ocean could persist on a world that never gets closer than 30 astronomical units from…

2 months ago

Planets Form in Just a Few Hundred Thousand Years

Astronomers like to observe young planets forming in circumstellar debris disks, the rotating rings of material around young stars. But…

2 months ago

Space Dust Delivered Water to Vesta, Could it Have Done the Same for Earth?

One of the most enduring questions about Earth regards the origins of its water. Where did it come from? One…

2 months ago

Huge Stars Can Destroy Nearby Planetary Disks

Westerlund 2 is a star cluster about 20,000 light years away. It's young—only about one or two million years old—and…

2 months ago

This is an Actual Image of a Planet-Forming Disc in a Distant Star System

In 2017, astronomers used ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array) to look at the star AB Aurigae. It's a type of…

3 months ago

Astronomers Are Sure These Are Two Newborn Planets Orbiting a Distant Star

Planet formation is a notoriously difficult thing to observe. Nascent planets are ensconced inside dusty wombs that resist our best…

3 months ago