New research shows stellar flybys are common in our galaxy’s crowded center. That could have both good and bad (but mostly bad) effects on growing planets.
Among the wealth of exoplanets we’ve discovered beyond our solar system, some are temperate, some less so. New observations have now revealed what may be a particularly inhospitable environment: a planet literally disintegrating as it orbits its host.
Large observatories will require precise timing info to measure as many exoplanet atmospheres as possible. Backyard astronomers have the power to keep that intel fresh.
This week in astronomy news: Inflated helium atmospheres surround two exoplanets, and the Kepler Space Telescope captures the moments around a supernova that hint at a companion star triggering the explosion.
Infant worlds might gobble up dust quickly, the interstellar environment might feed protoplanetary disks, or planet-building dust could be hiding in plain sight. Although disks of gas and dust around young stars are a necessary precursor to planet formation, an expanded survey of stars in our Galaxy confirms earlier doubts…