When it comes to hosting planets, not all types of stars are created equal. Stars with more mass are more likely to harbor planets than low-mass stars, and stars with high concentrations of heavy elements are also more likely to have planets. But the relationship between stars and planets doesn’t end there. Certain types of stars are better targets for taking images of planets, and the alignment between a star’s rotation axis and the orbital plane of its planets provides key insights into the evolution of planetary systems.
Click here to listen to Caltech astronomer John Johnson on this exclusive 15-minute, 7-megabyte podcast as he talks about the planet-star relationship with Sky & Telescope Editor in Chief Robert Naeye. Johnson authored the cover story of the April 2011 issue of S&T.