Tag Archives: planet formation

Earthlike ‘Star Wars’ Tatooines may be common

Simulations dispute dogma: rocky planets may orbit many double stars

Luke Skywalker’s home in “Star Wars” is the desert planet Tatooine, with twin sunsets because it orbits two stars. So far, only uninhabitable gas-giant planets have been identified circling such binary stars, and many researchers believe rocky planets cannot form there. Now, mathematical simulations show that Earthlike, solid planets such as Tatooine likely exist and may be widespread. (more…)

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Study shows how planetary building blocks evolved from porous to hard objects

Thinking small has enabled an international team of scientists to gain new insight into the evolution of planetary building blocks in the early solar system.

The researchers compared the results of small-scale numerical simulations of colliding rock and dust particles to the composition of meteorites. They found that collisions helped transform initially porous materials into the more highly solidified asteroids and meteorites observed today. The team of seven scientists published their evidence last month in Nature Communications. (more…)

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New Study Finds Oceans Arrived Early to Earth

Earth is known as the Blue Planet because of its oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface and are home to the world’s greatest diversity of life. While water is essential for life on the planet, the answers to two key questions have eluded us: where did Earth’s water come from and when? (more…)

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Distant Planetary System is a Super-Sized Solar System

TORONTO, ON – A team of astronomers, including Quinn Konopacky of the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, has made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-like planet beyond our Solar System.

According to Konopacky, “We have been able to observe this planet in unprecedented detail because of the advanced instrumentation we are using on the Keck II telescope, our groundbreaking observing and data-processing techniques, and because of the nature of the planetary system.” (more…)

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Armchair Astronomers Find Planet in Four-Star System

A joint effort of citizen scientists and professional astronomers has led to the first reported case of a planet orbiting twin suns that in turn is orbited by a second distant pair of stars.

Aided by volunteers using the Planethunters.org website, a Yale-led international team of astronomers identified and confirmed discovery of the phenomenon, called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system.

Only six planets are known to orbit two stars, according to researchers, and none of these are orbited by distant stellar companions. (more…)

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