Planetary Formation

Massive Stars don’t Always Grow Their own Planets. Sometimes They Steal Them

Recently astronomers have discovered Jupiter-sized planets orbiting at extremely large distances from giant stars. How can these stars end up…

2 weeks ago

Carbon Monoxide is Plentiful in Nebulae, but Then Disappears When Planets Form. Now we Know Where it Goes!

Protoplanetary disks—those nurseries around young stars where planets form—are filled with gas and dust. In particular, many show a lot…

1 month ago

How Do Hot Jupiters Get So Close to Their Stars?

In this age of exoplanet discovery, we've discovered thousands of exoplanets of different types. The hot Jupiter is one of…

4 months ago

Jupiter is up to 9% Rock and Metal, Which Means it Ate a lot of Planets in its Youth

Jupiter is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The amounts of each closely conform to the theoretical quantities in…

4 months ago

We’ve Now Seen Planet-Forming Disks Around Hundreds of Young Stars. What Do They Tell Us?

Is our Solar System comparable to other solar systems? What do other systems look like? We know from exoplanet studies…

5 months ago

Hubble Has Been Watching This Planet Form for 13 Years

Hubble's most remarkable feature might be its longevity. The Hubble has been operating for almost 32 years and has fed…

6 months ago

Primordial Helium, Left Over From the Big Bang, is Leaking Out of the Earth

Something ancient and primordial lurks in Earth's core. Helium 3 (3He) was created in the first minutes after the Big…

6 months ago

Astronomers See the Wreckage Where Planets Crashed Into Each Other in a Distant Star System

Our Solar System was born in chaos. Collisions shaped and built the Earth and the other planets, and even delivered…

6 months ago

Planets Have Just Started to Form in This Binary System

Astronomers have watched the young binary star system SVS 13 for decades. Astronomers don't know much about how planets form…

7 months ago

Mini-Neptunes can Lose gas and Turn Into Super-Earths

Can one type of planet become another? Can a mini-Neptune lose its atmosphere and become a super-Earth? Astronomers have found…

7 months ago