22 Jun '12, 7am
Two Newly Discovered Planets Locked In Strange Orbit
“Small, rocky planets should form in the hot part of the solar system, close to their host star – like Mercury, Venus and Earth in our Solar System. Bigger, less dense planets – Jupiter, Uranus – can only form farther away from their host, where it is cool enough for volatile material like water ice, and methane ice to collect. In some cases, these large planets can migrate close in after they form, during the last stages of planet formation, but in so doing they should eject or destroy the low-mass inner planets,” Steve Kawaler, an Iowa State University professor of astronomy and physics is quoted as saying. Along with other researchers he created a description of the host star, measuring changes in the star’s brightness to get an exact idea of it’s size, mass, and age.