A pair of recent studies conduct in-depth analyses of Jupiter-sized exoplanets, also known as Exo-Jupiters, and were published in Nature Communications and The Astronomical Journal, respectively. The study published in Nature Communications was conducted by an international team of researchers and examines how Exo-Jupiters could be more common than previously thought, while the study published in The Astronomical Journal was conducted by one researcher and examines exoplanetary system, HD 141399, and how it is comprised entirely of Exo-Jupiters with no additional planets.Continue reading “Exo-Jupiters’ Commonality and Exclusivity Highlighted in Two New Studies”
The Fomalhaut system is nearby in astronomical terms, and it’s also one of the brightest stars in the night sky. That means astronomers have studied it intensely over the years. Now that we have the powerful James Webb Space Telescope the observations have intensified.
The Fomalhaut system has a confounding and complex dusty disk, including a dusty blob. The blob has been the subject of an ongoing debate in astronomy. Can the JWST see through its complexity and find answers to the systems unanswered questions?Continue reading “JWST Searches for Planets in the Fomalhaut System”
In 1992, humanity’s effort to understand the Universe took a significant step forward. That’s when astronomers discovered the first exoplanets. They’re named Poltergeist (Noisy Ghost) and Phobetor (Frightener), and they orbit a pulsar about 2300 light-years away.
Even though we thought there must be other planets around other stars, and entire science fiction franchises were built on the idea, we didn’t know for sure and couldn’t just assume it to be true. A quick glance at human history shows how wrong our assumptions about nature can be.Continue reading “This Exoplanet Orbits Around its Star’s Poles”
AU Microscopii is a small red dwarf star about 32 light-years away. It’s far too dim for the unaided human eye, but that doesn’t diminish its appeal. The star has at least two exoplanets and hosts a circumstellar debris disk.
It’s also young, only about 23 million years old, and it’s the second-closest pre-main sequence star to Earth. The JWST recently imaged the star and its surroundings and found something surprising.Continue reading “By Blocking the Light From a Star, Webb Reveals the Dusty Disk Surrounding It”
Astronomers have spied three more exoplanets. But the discovery might not last long. Each planet is in a separate solar system, and each orbits perilously close to its star. Even worse, all of the stars are dying.
Three doomed planets.Continue reading “These Newly-Discovered Planets are Doomed”
Can planets form around massive, hot stars? Some astronomers think they can’t. According to the evidence, planets around stars exceeding three solar masses should be rare, or maybe even non-existent. But now astronomers have found one.
A team of researchers found a binary star that’s six times the mass of the Sun. And it hosts a planet that’s about ten times more massive than Jupiter.Continue reading “Even Really Massive Stars Seem to Have Planets”
200 light-years away from Earth, there’s a K-type main-sequence star named TOI (TESS Object of Interest) 178. When Adrian Leleu, an astrophysicist at the Center for Space and Habitability of the University of Bern, observed it, it appeared to have two planets orbiting it at roughly the same distance. But that turned out to be incorrect. In fact, six exoplanets orbit the smallish star.
And five of those six are locked into an unexpected orbital configuration.Continue reading “Exoplanetary System Found With 6 Worlds in Orbital Resonance”
It looks like we may have to update our theories on how stars and planets form in new solar systems. A team of astronomers has discovered young planets forming in a solar system that’s only about 500,000 years old. Prior to this discovery, astronomers thought that stars are well into their adult life of fusion before planets formed from left over material in the circumstellar disk.
Now, according to a new study, it looks like planets and stars can form and grow up together.Continue reading “Planets Don’t Wait for Their Star to Form First”
Scientists are getting better at understanding exoplanets. We now know that they’re plentiful, and that they can even orbit dead white dwarf stars. Researchers are also getting better at understanding how they form, and what they’re made of.
A new study says that some carbon-rich exoplanets could be made of silica, and even diamonds, under the right circumstances.Continue reading “There Could Be Carbon-Rich Exoplanets Made Of Diamonds”
The mysterious world Europa, the ice-covered second moon of Jupiter, sports deep scars that cut across its face. An international team of investigators studied high-resolution maps of that surface to reveal a pattern: something shook Europa sometime within the past few million years, causing the entire shell to shift by 70 degrees.Continue reading “Europa’s entire icy shell shifted 70-degrees a few million years ago”